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Hanging on to the Edges

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Daniel Nettle

Acknowledgements

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1Hanging on to the Edges has been a long journey. I would like to thank Andrew Scott, in whose company the idea for the project was born. Thanks, too, to our lively research group at Newcastle University, for their hard work, good company, and conversation; this includes the generations of students and interns who have passed through. The European Commission has supported our lab financially through its Horizon 2020 programme, and so in an indirect way made this book possible as well. My lovely collaborators and colleagues are too numerous all to be named here, but I would like to single out Willem Frankenhuis, for discussions on many of these topics; Gillian Pepper, for her work that underlies The mill that grinds young people old in particular; and Graham Crow, for his inspiring enthusiasm about building bridges.

2Many people provided comments on individual essays when they were first published online. These were a great source of encouragement and improvement. Hugo Mercier, Nichola Raihani, Rebecca Saxe and David Lawson read the full draft of the book version. I have not always followed their advice, and all shortcomings and idiocies are of course my own.

3I’d like to thank everyone at Open Book Publishers for their remarkable enthusiasm and efficiency, and for making books available for free to students and scholars all over the world. I am particularly impressed that my editor picked up the fact that I had got the gender of the villain wrong in an allusion to a fairly obscure 2007 horror movie.

4Pat Bateson died half way through the writing of Hanging on to the Edges. Some of it might have puzzled him: his pre-replication-crisis generation was less afflicted than mine is with doubt and uncertainty about their science (or maybe that’s just how Cambridge people are). But much of it — on the active role of the individual organism, on the need to transcend the boundaries between the ‘biological’ and the ‘social’, on the aspiration of science to do good in the world — is a testament to what he believed in, and patiently argued for, over many years. He influenced me both directly and indirectly.

5Finally, my greatest thanks, and my love, go to Melissa Bateson, my inspiration, principal scientific collaborator, spouse, and fellow adventurer.

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