Summary of: ‘Unto Others. The evolution and psychology of unselfish behavior’

Journal of Consciousness Studies 7 (1-2):185-206 (2000)

Authors
Elliott Sober
University of Wisconsin, Madison
Abstract
The hypothesis of group selection fell victim to a seemingly devastating critique in 1960s evolutionary biology. In Unto Others, we argue to the contrary, that group selection is a conceptually coherent and empirically well documented cause of evolution. We suggest, in addition, that it has been especially important in human evolution. In the second part of Unto Others, we consider the issue of psychological egoism and altruism -- do human beings have ultimate motives concerning the well-being of others? We argue that previous psychological and philosophical work on this question has been inconclusive. We propose an evolutionary argument for the claim that human beings have altruistic ultimate motives.
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