Theory Design Lab/Evolution and the categorical imperative

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Cleaning symbiosis

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The cleaner fish can swim into the jaws of fish of prey and is not attacked. The larger fish even spit out the cleaner fish when the fish has finished removing parasites.


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  • Why do the fish of prey not attack the cleaner fish? Do the two fish have an agreement of any kind? How?
  • Even if the fish had an agreement the larger fish could swallow the tiny cleaner fish when it was no longer required. Large fish are not known for particularly honorable behavior. Swallowing the tiny fish is merely illogical if the categorical imperative is applied: If every fish would swallow cleaner fish then the cleaner fish might die out.
    • Do the fish of prey understand the categorical imperative?
    • If the fish of prey more probably do not understand the categorical imperative then what makes them adhere to the categorical imperative? Isn't that possibly a far reaching wisdom for evolution to convey (e.g. how often had the cleaner fish to die out before all other fish were genetically programmed to spit out the cleaner fish?)

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