Multilevel selection and human altruism

Biology and Philosophy 23 (2):205-215 (2008)
Abstract
Views on the evolution of altruism based upon multilevel selection on structured populations pay little attention to the difference between fortuitous and deliberate processes leading to assortative grouping. Altruism may evolve when assortative grouping is fortuitously produced by forces external to the organism. But when it is deliberately produced by the same proximate mechanism that controls altruistic responses, as in humans, exploitation of altruists by selfish individuals is unlikely and altruism evolves as an individually advantageous trait. Groups formed with altruists of this sort are special, because they are not affected by subversion from within. A synergistic process where altruism is selected both at the individual and at the group level can take place.
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