A critique of R.d. Alexander's views on group selection

Biology and Philosophy 14 (3):431-449 (1999)

Abstract
Group selection is increasingly being viewed as an important force in human evolution. This paper examines the views of R.D. Alexander, one of the most influential thinkers about human behavior from an evolutionary perspective, on the subject of group selection. Alexander's general conception of evolution is based on the gene-centered approach of G.C. Williams, but he has also emphasized a potential role for group selection in the evolution of individual genomes and in human evolution. Alexander's views are internally inconsistent and underestimate the importance of group selection. Specific themes that Alexander has developed in his account of human evolution are important but are best understood within the framework of multilevel selection theory. From this perspective, Alexander's views on moral systems are not the radical departure from conventional views that he claims, but remain radical in another way more compatible with conventional views.
Keywords altruism  evolutionary ethics  group selection  human behavior  moral systems  multilevel selection  R.D. Alexander  superorganism
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DOI 10.1023/A:1006577511789
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References found in this work BETA

Darwinism and Human Affairs.Terence Ball - 1981 - Ethics 92 (1):161-162.
Darwin and the Emergence of Evolutionary Theories of Mind and Behavior.Daniel C. Dennett - 1989 - Journal of the History of Biology 22 (2):361-367.
Genetic Similarity, Human Altruism, and Group Selection.J. Philippe Rushton - 1989 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 12 (3):503-518.

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Citations of this work BETA

Human Groups as Adaptive Units.David Sloan Wilson - 2005 - In Peter Carruthers, Stephen Laurence & Stephen P. Stich (eds.), The Innate Mind: Structure and Contents. Oxford University Press. pp. 78.

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