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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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Conclusion: Human Cooperation and Its Evolution

Conclusion: Human Cooperation and Its Evolution

(p.195) 12 Conclusion: Human Cooperation and Its Evolution
A Cooperative Species

Samuel Bowles

Herbert Gintis

Princeton University Press

This chapter reviews the book's main findings about human cooperation, beginning with a discussion of its origins. It shows that humans became a cooperative species because the nature of our livelihoods made cooperation within a group highly beneficial to its members. Hence, they developed the cognitive, linguistic and other capacities to structure our social interactions in ways that resulted in the proliferation of altruistic cooperators. Where the benefits associated with cooperation relative to the costs are substantial, it is more likely that the evolutionary processes of gene-culture coevolution will support populations with large numbers of cooperators, regardless of whether they are altruistic or mutualistic. The chapter also explains why social preferences are highly likely to emerge among early humans before concluding with some reflections on the future of cooperation.

Keywords:   human cooperation, social interactions, evolution, gene-culture coevolution, social preferences, early humans

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