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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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Parochialism, Altruism, and War

Parochialism, Altruism, and War

(p.133) 8 Parochialism, Altruism, and War
A Cooperative Species

Samuel Bowles

Herbert Gintis

Princeton University Press

This chapter examines the coevolution of two genetically transmitted individual traits, parochialism and altruism, each providing the conditions for the evolutionary success of the other, and both jointly explaining why warfare was so frequent and lethal among early humans. It first considers the tendency of parochial altruists to engage in combat before discussing the results of simulations showing that parochialism and altruism evolve because within-group interactions for which cooperation is possible are characterized by positive assortment, and not because the parochial altruists deliberately associate with like types. It also evaluates experimental evidence that provides a test of the simulation results regarding the coevolution of parochial altruism and war. It suggests that hostility toward outsiders and a warlike disposition could have strengthened the group competition processes essential to the evolution of altruistic cooperation.

Keywords:   coevolution, parochialism, altruism, evolution, positive assortment, parochial altruism, hostility, group competition, altruistic cooperation

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