Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
A Cooperative SpeciesHuman Reciprocity and Its Evolution$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Samuel Bowles and Herbert Gintis

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780691151250

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691151250.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM PRINCETON SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.princeton.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Princeton University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in HSO for personal use (for details see www.princeton.universitypressscholarship.com/page/privacy-policy).date: 19 November 2018

Ancestral Human Society

Ancestral Human Society

Chapter:
(p.93) 6 Ancestral Human Society
Source:
A Cooperative Species
Author(s):

Samuel Bowles

Herbert Gintis

Publisher:
Princeton University Press
DOI:10.23943/princeton/9780691151250.003.0006

This chapter examines the notion that humans became cooperative because in our ancestral environments we interacted frequently with the same group of close kin, among whom tit-for-tat and other strategies consistent with reciprocal altruism were sufficient to support cooperative outcomes. To this end, the chapter reviews the available archaeological and ethnographic evidence suggesting that most humans had frequent contact with a substantial number of individuals beyond the immediate family despite the existence of isolated groups. This conclusion is consistent with data on the extent of genetic differentiation among ethnographic foragers. The chapter then considers evidence that ancestral humans engaged in frequent and exceptionally lethal intergroup conflicts, as well as data implying that social order in prestate small-scale societies was sustained by a process of coordinated peer pressures and punishment. It shows that prehistoric human society was a social and natural environment in which group competition could have given rise to altruistic behaviors.

Keywords:   reciprocal altruism, genetic differentiation, foragers, ancestral humans, intergroup conflict, social order, peer pressure, punishment, prehistoric human society, group competition

Princeton Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.