Morality and Evolution by Group Selection

Http://Www.Bu.Edu/Wcp/Papers/TEth/TEthByro.Htm (1999)
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Abstract

Consider the paradox of altruism: the existence of truly altruistic behaviors is difficult to reconcile with an evolutionary theory which holds that natural selection operates only on individuals, since in that case individuals should be unwilling to sacrifice their own fitness for the sake of others. Evolutionists have frequently turned to the hypothesis of group selection to explain the existence of altruism; but, even setting aside difficulties about understanding the relationship between altruistic behaviors and morality, group selection cannot explain the evolution of morality, since morality is a one-group phenomenon and group selection is a many-group phenomenon. After spelling out just what the problem is, this paper discusses several ways out and concludes by offering suggestions why one seems best

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Michael Byron
Kent State University

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