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Does Altruism Exist? Culture, Genes, and the Welfare of Others.


Does Altruism Exist? Culture, Genes, and the Welfare of Others

David Sloan Wilson

Yale University Press


180 pages



Foundational Questions in Science


Wilson here tackles the popular question of altruism from the perspective of evolutionary biology. He lays a foundation for the discussion by operationalizing altruism, presenting the oselfish geneo hypothesis as well as group selection theory, and discussing the concept of equivalence in causal explanations. The book then moves to the particularly human question of altruistic cognition and feeling, as opposed to mere behavioral parameters. Altruism is discussed as it pertains to religion, economics, everyday life, and the conditions which promote it, paying attention to the multilevel selective dynamics necessary to sustain it. The final two chapters explore how altruism is capable of producing pathological results, and make an argument for pursuing a planetary altruism. ([umlaut] Ringgold, Inc., Portland, OR)

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Article Type:Book review
Date:Jun 1, 2015
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