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A Cooperative SpeciesHuman Reciprocity and Its Evolution$
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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

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The Sociobiology of Human Cooperation

The Sociobiology of Human Cooperation

Chapter:
(p.46) 4 The Sociobiology of Human Cooperation
Source:
A Cooperative Species
Author(s):

Samuel Bowles

Herbert Gintis

Publisher:
Princeton University Press
DOI:10.23943/princeton/9780691151250.003.0004

This chapter examines the sociobiology of human cooperation. Given the tendency of people to copy the successful and the fact that natural selection favors the more fit, the chapter asks how our altruistic preferences overcame the cultural and biological evolutionary handicaps entailed by the reduced payoffs that they elicited. To answer this question, two major biological explanations of cooperation are discussed: inclusive fitness in either a kin-based or a multi-level selection model, and reciprocal altruism and its indirect reciprocity and costly signaling variants. The chapter explores a model of inclusive fitness based on group differentiation and competition, clarifying what is meant by multi-level selection and how it works. It also discusses models that address equilibrium selection, the link between standing strategy and indirect reciprocity, and positive assortment. Finally, it assesses the mechanisms and motives underlying helping behavior.

Keywords:   sociobiology, human cooperation, inclusive fitness, multi-level selection, reciprocal altruism, indirect reciprocity, costly signaling, equilibrium selection, positive assortment, helping behavior

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