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Unpublished Manuscripts

Richard D. Alexander wrote dozens of essays and a few book-length works that are part of his scientific thought, but that he did not publish. These included course handouts, essays to prompt discussion with his lab members and other associates, intended chapters for books that never materialized, responses to the thought of others, addenda to his own published works, and records of his thought for which he had no specific plan. 103 of these are listed here in rough chronological order. Each work, except for a few that have not yet been located or scanned, is associated with a scanned PDF to the left of the entry. See the menu above for published professional works and other categories of writings.

  • Years listed are those of final revision if constructed over multiple years.
  • Titles in square brackets were assigned to untitled mss by D. Lahti.
  • Manuscripts primarily released as part of coursepacks for University of Michigan Biology 494, Evolution and Human Behavior, are followed by an asterisk (*). These were often revised annually multiple times; generally only the final version available of each is presented here.


[PDF] 1967. Animal Species and Evolution: A critique. 141 pp. [Results of a discussion seminar with RDA and several students on the topic of Ernst Mayr’s 1963 book.] (Douglas J. Futuyma, Dale L. Hoyt, Joseph R. Jehl, Jr., Bertram G. Murray, Jr., Daniel Otte, Ann E. Pace, Robert T. Vinopal, Mary Jane West, and Richard D. Alexander).

1967. The beetle. Introductory Zoology Laboratory Exercise. Ann Arbor, Mich., Edwards Brothers Printers, 6 pp.

[PDF] 1972. Behavior associated with reproduction in field crickets. In A Laboratory Manual: Introduction to Biology, Campus Publishers, Shappirio, Frye, and Ray (eds.), Ann Arbor, Michigan.

1972. Diversity of organisms. In A Laboratory Manual: Introduction to Biology, Campus Publishers, Shappirio, Frye, and Ray (eds.), Ann Arbor, Michigan.

[PDF] 1974. Some thoughts on sexual reproduction. Handout for Zoology 475, University of Michigan. Unpublished ms.

[PDF] c. 1975. A note on genetic load. Unpublished ms.

[PDF] c. 1979. Natural selection and sexuality. Unpublished ms.

Notes on sexuality:
[A series of three brief essays complementary to his 1979 publications on sexuality.]

[PDF] c. 1979. Heterogony and the problem of vertebrate sexuality. Unpublished ms.

[PDF] c. 1979. Outbreeding and sexuality. Unpublished ms.

[PDF] c. 1979. Notes on parthenogenesis. Unpublished ms.

[PDF] 1970s. Overview of the influence of relative parental investment and variance in mate quality on female competition and selectivity. Unpublished ms.

[PDF] 1970s. Reproductive competition and the evolution of sociality. Unpublished ms.

[PDF] 1970s. A note on sexual dimorphism and sexual selection. Unpublished ms.

[PDF] 1981. Outlaw genes with green beards: a response to Ridley and Grafen. Unpublished ms. Edited by D. Lahti. [The paper to which RDA is responding is M. Ridley & A. Grafen. 1981. Are green beard genes outlaws? Animal Behaviour 29: 954-955. DOI: 10.1016/S0003-3472(81)80034-6.]

1984. Analyzing phenotypic alternatives. Unpublished ms, originally a handout for Zoology 475, University of Michigan, then revised at an unknown later date.

[PDF] 1988. Prehistoric geography and genetic change in evolving humans. Unpublished ms, 16 May.

[PDF] 1988. Self-awareness, auto-imprinting, and sexual preferences in humans. Unpublished ms, 8 August.

[PDF] 1988. Ethics, racism, and the genetic bases of behavior: can the scientific study of humans ever be squeaky-clean in an open society? Unpublished ms, 12 September.

[PDF] 1988. Evolution of the human psyche and some of its special activities (music emphasized here). Unpublished figure, 10 April.* [Would evolve into the figure in the 1996 “Human creative explosion” suite, unpublished (see below).]

1980s. Just-so stories and cautionary tales: a sequel.  Unpublished ms.

[PDF] 1990. How leks work. Unpublished ms, 12 November.

[PDF] 1991. What is cheating? Defection? Unpublished ms, 14 October.*

[PDF] 1991. Relationships among some variables chosen to suggest how parental care and confidence of paternity correlate. Unpublished figure, 21 October.*

[PDF] 1991. Men against women and vice versa. Unpublished ms, 29 October.*

[PDF] 1991. The disappearance of the human male: a whimsical (?) scenario. Unpublished ms, 29 October.* [A companion piece to “Men against women and vice versa”.]

[PDF] 1991. More on behavioral ontogeny. Unpublished ms, 31 October.  [This is is a follow-up to a discussion with RDA’s students on his ms “What can be said about behavioral ontogeny”, which was originally written and distributed a week earlier on 22 October 1991. It can be found below in 1992 because he revised it in 7 October of that year for his Evolution & Human Behavior class]

[PDF] 1991. Comments on monogamy, desertion, and the geneticist’s speech. Unpublished ms, 15 November.*

[PDF] 1992. Some evolutionary foci in biology. Unpublished figure, 11 September.*

[PDF] 1992. Some comments about science (or the gaining of knowledge). Unpublished ms, 11 September.*

[PDF] 1992. Investigative procedures and sources of evidence in biology. Unpublished ms, 11 September.*

[PDF] 1992. More on hypothesis testing. Unpublished ms, 11 September.*

[PDF] 1992. Some criticisms directed at the concept of adaptation and its use. Unpublished ms, unfinished, 16 September.

[PDF] 1992. A note on human diversity. Unpublished ms, 2 October.*

[PDF] 1992. What can be said about behavioral ontogeny– for animals in general and humans in particular? Unpublished ms, 7 October.* [See also the subsequent essay above, written after this one was discussed in his lab, entitled “More on behavioral ontogeny”, 31 October 1991 (a year earlier because the followup was not revised in 1992 as the original was).]

[PDF] 1992. Why the levels of selection problem seems so difficult to resolve. Unpublished ms, 7 October.*

[PDF] 1992. Kinds of social interactions: contrasting nepotism, ecological mutualism, social reciprocity, and some other interactions that mimic social reciprocity. Unpublished ms, 15 October.*

[PDF] 1992. The so-called “prisoner’s dilemma”, an example from game theory commonly used to discuss social reciprocity. Unpublished figure, 19 October.*

[PDF] 1992. Some notes regarding the psychological distress questions. Unpublished ms, 4 November.*

[PDF] 1992. Humor and laughter– and play. Unpublished ms, 11 November.*

[PDF] 1992. The human evolutionary trajectory. Unpublished figure and ms, 16 November.*

[PDF] 1992. Outbreeding, incest avoidance, resource partition, and alliances. 18 November.*

[PDF] 1992. Some notes on !Kung bushmen kinship nomenclature and social behavior. Unpublished ms, 30 November.*

[PDF] 1992. On sex ratio selection. Unpublished ms, 9 December.*

[PDF] 1992. A theory of music. Unpublished ms, 11 December.*

[PDF] 1992. Biology 494 Evolution and Human Behavior Coursepack, Fall 1992. University of Michigan. 293 pp.  [This document is comprised of original unpublished topical writings by RDA (all of which are individually represented elsewhere on this page), excerpts from published writings by RDA and others, and class-related materials such as explanations and essay questions.]

[PDF] 1993. [Entry in a journal of a visit to Australia]. Unpublished ms, 25 March. Edited by D. Lahti. [Contains:]

  1. [Varieties of animal signals and a theory of mind.]
  2. How religion originated: outline of a sequence or hypothesis

[PDF] 1993. Learning. Unpublished ms, 31 October.

[PDF] 1993. Some essays discussing culture. Unpublished mss, 29 November.* [Includes an introduction followed by five essays:]

  1. General comments on culture. [Previous versions are titled “Some comments on culture”]
  2. Explaining the demographic transition.
  3. On matrilocality and chiefly succession on Pacific Islands.
  4. An introduction to the problem of parallel and cross cousins.
  5. Barkow on cousin marriages. [Previous versions are titled “A comment on Barkow’s (1989) arguments on the ‘psychological mechanisms’ underlying asymmetrical treatment and his implication of error on my part”. Appended is an introduction to a class assignment that provides more background for RDA’s position and Barkow’s criticism.]

[PDF] 1994. Thoughts about adaptiveness: stimulated by and intended to stimulate the Systematics Study Group. Unpublished ms, 8 March.

[PDF] 1994. Some notes on genetics. Unpublished ms, 9 September.*

[PDF] 1994. Bush and Beals on homosexuality. Unpublished ms, 26 October.* [Originally submitted as a letter to the Ann Arbor News, but rejected.]

[PDF] 1996. Biology as analysis of a game such as chess. Unpublished ms, 30 April.

[PDF] 1996. Why live in groups, and kinds of social interactions. Unpublished ms, 21 October. [Lecture notes for University of Michigan Biology 494, Evolution and Human Behavior, with extensive handwritten addenda.]

[PDF] 1996. Lecture notes on humor. Unpublished ms, 18 November.*

[PDF] 1996. The human creative explosion [suite]. Unpublished ms, 16 December.* [Contains:]

  1. The human creative explosion. [Points 1-9.]
  2. An effort to classify sources or kinds of evolutionary selection. [Dated 2 December; includes handwritten notes.]
  3. Summary of co-evolutionary socially reciprocal selection based on condition-dependent or runaway reciprocal passing of benefits. [A resumption of “The human creative explosion”, points 10-20.]
  4. Evolution of the human psyche and some of its special activities. [Figure. Based on “Evolution of the human psyche and some of its special activities (music emphasized here)”, unpublished figure, 1988 (see above).]

[PDF] 1997. On group selection. Unpublished ms, 17 March. [See also 2001 unpublished ms with the same title.]

[PDF] 1997. Speciation, with special reference to the singing insects of North America [suite]. Unpublished ms, 9 November. [Contains:]

  1. [Introductory essay]
  2. Outline of talk
  3. Ten reasons why North America is the best place in the world to do systematic work
  4. Ten reasons why singing insects are the best group for studying man general problems of species and speciation

1997. Understanding Humanity: The Human Species in Evolutionary Perspective. Prepared as a text for Biology 494, University of Michigan (with Andrew F. Richards).

1998. Reply to Matt Cartmill. Unpublished ms, 16 March.

[PDF] 1998. On the evolutionary significance of smoking tobacco. Unpublished ms, 15 April.*

[PDF] 1998. Using evolutionary selection to help understand humanity. Lecture handout. Unpublished ms, 16 September.

1999. The Williamsburg Address. Unpublished ms, 11 January.

[PDF] 1999. The (?) three great gaps in biology. Unpublished ms, 8 February.

1999. Comment on Ewald. 15 February.

[PDF] 1999. Trying to make evolutionary sense of some human uniqueness. Handout to the University of Michigan Evolution and Human Adaptation Program. Unpublished ms, March.

1999. Some contrasts in evolutionary routes to social systems and social brains. Unpublished ms, 9 March.

1999. On the advocacy of intelligent design of life. Unpublished ms.

[PDF] 2001. On group selection. Unpublished ms, 11 March. [See also 1997 unpublished ms with the same title.]

2001. Complexity and adaptation. Unpublished ms, 31 October.

[PDF] 1997-2001. Some startling new discoveries in recent years, from adaptationist and other evolutionary approaches. Unpublished ms, unfinished. [Dated from the years Julian Adams was Chair of the UM Bio Dept., when he gave the lecture that spurred RDA to write this piece.]

[PDF] 2002. The woes of the world. Unpublished ms, 4 February.

[PDF] 2002. The biology of pleiotropies: understanding gene effects, vertically and horizontally. Unpublished ms, 15 April.

[PDF] 2003. Who is misusing the moral module: the self-declared godless, the faith-based, or both? Unpublished ms, 10 April. [Notes for a lecture to an atheist audience “plumping for a Day of Reason on the same day as Bush’s Day of Prayer”]

2003. Forms of evolutionary selection. Unpublished ms, July.

[PDF] 2004. The nature of human morality. Unpublished ms.

[PDF] 2004. Prayer for the kindred of the world. Unpublished ms.

[PDF] 2004. Fruit. Unpublished ms, 22 September. [Drafted as a letter suggesting a school lesson plan to his daughter Nancy].

[PDF] 2005. [On interspecific hybridization.] Unpublished ms, 15 January. Edited by D. Lahti.

[PDF] 2005. Humor and hostility. Unpublished ms, 2 May. [Revision of a 1991 essay, fashioned as a letter to Andrew Richards & David Lahti in preparation for a humor chapter in a projected revision of Understanding Humanity, q.v.]

[PDF] 2006. The concept of God and the meaning of life. Unpublished ms. [Included as an addendum is a publication-friendly version of the “Prayer for the kindred of the world” (c.f. 2004 above).]

[PDF] 2006. Review of The Roots of Morality by Maxine Sheets-Johnstone. Unpublished ms, 16 May.

[PDF] 2007. Bragging rights: the sides of the social cooperation coin. Unpublished ms, 23 February.

[PDF] 2007. Have God and evolution constructed humans jointly? Unpublished ms, 1 May.  [A version from 23 February 2007 is here.]

[PDF] 2007. Self-interest and its alternatives. Unpublished ms, 12 March.

[PDF] 2007. Responses to the online comments [an Amazon.com review] of the economist Herbert Gintis regarding The Biology of Moral Systems. 14 April.

[PDF] 2008. On ultimacy in the life sciences. Unpublished ms. [a 2004 version is here].

[PDF] 2009. Cooperation and selection in groups. Unpublished ms, 21 September.

[PDF] 1990s-2000s. Monogamy, democracy, and morality: some speculations about the force of multiple confluences of interest. Unpublished ms.

[PDF] late 2000s. Evolution and intelligent design. Unpublished ms.

[PDF] 2010. Critique of Frans de Waal’s 12 May 2010 lecture at the University of Michigan: “Monkey Business: Cooperation and Fairness in Primates”. Unpublished ms.

[PDF] 2010. Polygyny, Islam, and terrorism. Unpublished ms. Edited by D. Lahti. [Originally written to Billy Frye, RDA’s friend and former Professor of Zoology and Dean of Literature, Science, & the Arts at the University of Michigan. Appended is a response to Frye’s question as to what RDA hoped to achieve with such a piece.].

2011. The mockingbird, or, Religion: an evolved adaptation? And what if it is?! Unpublished ms, 28 May.

[PDF] 2012. Notes for a review of Deceit and Self Deception by Robert Trivers, 2011. Unpublished ms., ed. D. Lahti.

[PDF] 2013. Lecturing, and how to improve it. Unpublished ms, 21 January.

[PDF] 2000s-2010s. An annotated glossary of evolutionary terms. [A nascent work; contains entries for the following terms:]

1. Adaptation
2. Design
3. Development
4. Gene
5. Reproductive Success



This website was launched in June 2010 and is a work in progress.

In addition to RDA of course, thanks to Lorrie Alexander, John Cooley, Daniel Otte, Eckart Voland, Mary Jane West-Eberhard, and especially Nancy Alexander for providing a few hard-to-find writings. Thanks to Michelle Mordukhaev for contributing to the scanning and posting. Thanks to Nancy Alexander and Lorrie Alexander for guidance and permission.

For more information or to become involved, contact David Lahti at dclahti@gmail.com.

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