Multilevel selection, cooperation, and altruism

Human Nature 10 (3):311-327 (1999)
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Unto Others (Sober and Wilson 1998) shows how the general principles of Multi-Level Selection (MLS) theory apply to selection at multiple levels of the biological hierarchy. It also argues for the existence of "genuine" evolutionary and psychological altruism. The authors’ views on altruism do not follow logically from principles of MLS, and their failure do disentangle these two themes undermines their otherwise excellent presentation of MLS theory. Rebuttal of the view that human nature is completely selfish depends not on the prevalence of altruism but on the importance of group-advantageous traits that benefit both self and other group members without necessarily inflicting direct costs on outsiders



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