Hamilton’s theory of kin selection is the best-known framework for understanding the evolution of social behavior but has long been a source of controversy in evolutionary biology. A recent critique of the theory by Nowak, Tarnita, and Wilson sparked a new round of debate, which shows no signs of abating. In this overview, we highlight a number of conceptual issues that lie at the heart of the current debate. We begin by emphasizing that there are various alternative formulations of Hamilton’s (...) rule, including a general version, which is always true; an proximate version, which assumes weak selection; and a special version, which demands other restrictive assumptions. We then examine the relationship between the neighbor-modulated fitness and inclusive fitness approaches to kin selection. Finally, we consider the often-strained relationship between the theories of kin and multilevel selection. (shrink)
Kin selection and group selection were once seen as competing explanatory hypotheses but now tend to be seen as equivalent ways of describing the same basic idea. Yet this ‘equivalence thesis’ seems not to have brought proponents of kin selection and group selection any closer together. This may be because the equivalence thesis merely shows the equivalence of two statistical formalisms without saying anything about causality. W.D. Hamilton was the first to derive an equivalence result of this type. Yet Hamilton (...) was aware of its limitations, and saw that, while illuminating, it papered over some biologically important distinctions. Attending to these distinctions leads to the concept of ‘K-G space’, which helps us see where the biological disagreements between proponents of kin selection and group selection really lie. (shrink)
This paper investigates the impact of kin on child survival in a matrilineal society in Malawi. Women usually live in close proximity to their matrilineal kin in this agricultural community, allowing opportunities for helping behavior between matrilineal relatives. However, there is little evidence that matrilineal kin are beneficial to children. On the contrary, child mortality rates appear to be higher in the presence of maternal grandmothers and maternal aunts. These effects are modified by the sex of child and resource ownership: (...) female children and children in households where women, rather than men, own land suffer higher mortality rates in the presence of maternal kin. These modifiers suggest the detrimental effects of matrilineal kin may result from competition between such kin for resources. There are some positive effects of kin on child survival: the presence of elder siblings of both sexes is correlated with higher survival rates, and there is some weak evidence that paternal grandmothers may be beneficial to a child’s survival chances. There is little evidence that any male kin, whether matrilineal or patrilineal, and including fathers, affect child mortality rates. This study highlights the importance of taking social and ecological context into account when investigating relationships between kin. (shrink)
This paper presents a comparison of social kinship (patrilineage) and biological kinship (genetic relatedness) in predicting cooperative relationships in two different economic contexts in the fishing and whaling village of Lamalera, Indonesia. A previous analysis (Alvard, Human Nature 14:129–163, 2003) of boat crew affiliation data collected in the village in 1999 found that social kinship (patrilineage) was a better predictor of crew affiliation than was genetic kinship. A replication of this analysis using similar data collected in 2006 finds the same (...) pattern: lineage is a better predictor than genetic kinship of crew affiliation, and the two together explain little additional variance over that explained by lineage alone. However, an analogous test on food-sharing relationships finds the opposite pattern: biological kinship is a better predictor of food-sharing relationships than is social kinship. The difference between these two cooperative contexts is interpreted in terms of kin preferences that shape partner choice, and the relative autonomy with which individuals can seek to satisfy those preferences. Drawing on stable matching theory, it is suggested that unilineal descent may serve as a stable compromise among multiple individuals’ incongruent partner preferences, with patriliny favored over matriliny in the crew-formation context because it leads to higher mean degrees of relatedness among male cooperators. In the context of food-sharing, kin preferences can be pursued relatively autonomously, without the necessity of coordinating preferences with those of other households through the institution of lineage. (shrink)
Paternity certainty and matrilineal family ties have been used to explain the asymmetric caregiving of grandparents and aunts and uncles. The proximate mechanisms underlying biased kin investment, however, remain unclear. A central question of the study presented here was whether the parent-kin relationship is an important link in the caregiving. In a two-generational questionnaire study, we asked subjects to estimate the intensity of their relationships to parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles (emotional closeness, investment received in childhood). In addition, the subjects’ (...) parents rated their emotional closeness to their parents and siblings. We found that the parent-kin relationship was closely linked to the relatives’ child care and could partly explain asymmetric caregiving. Maternal aunts played a special role as caregivers. Especially the mother’s younger or last-born sister cared intensively for nieces and nephews, regardless of her closeness to the subjects’ mother. (shrink)
Various results show the ‘formal equivalence’ of kin and group selectionist methodologies, but this does not preclude there being a real and useful distinction between kin and group selection processes. I distinguish individual- and population-centred approaches to drawing such a distinction, and I proceed to develop the latter. On the account I advance, the differences between kin and group selection are differences of degree in the structural properties of populations. A spatial metaphor provides a useful framework for thinking about these (...) differences: kin and group selection may be conceptualized as large, overlapping regions of K - G space. I then consider some implications of the account, defend it from possible objections, and further argue that the structural features characteristic of both kin and group selection may recur at multiple levels of biological organization. _1_ Introduction _2_ Equivalence Results and Their Limitations _2.1_ An example of an equivalence result _2.2_ Limitations _3_ Individual- and Population-Centred Approaches _4_ Two Influences: Hamilton and Godfrey-Smith _5_ K and G _5.1_ K _5.2_ G _5.3_ K-G space _6_ The rb ≠ 0 Requirement _7_ Levels of Organization _8_ The Key Substantive Questions. (shrink)
BackgroundEthically challenging critical events and decisions are common in nursing homes. This paper presents nursing home doctors’ descriptions of how they include the patient and next of kin in end-of-life decisions.MethodsWe performed ten focus groups with 30 nursing home doctors. Advance care planning; aspects of decisions on life-prolonging treatment, and conflict with next of kin were subject to in-depth analysis and condensation.ResultsThe doctors described large variations in attitudes and practices in all aspects of end-of-life decisions. In conflict situations, many doctors (...) were more concerned about the opinion of next of kin than ensuring the patient’s best interest.ConclusionsMany end-of-life decisions appear arbitrary or influenced by factors independent of the individual patient’s values and interests and are not based on systematic ethical reflections. To protect patient autonomy in nursing homes, stronger emphasis on legal and ethical knowledge among nursing home doctors is needed. (shrink)
This dissertation examines the conceptual and theoretical foundations of the most general and most widely used framework for understanding social evolution, W. D. Hamilton's theory of kin selection. While the core idea is intuitive enough (when organisms share genes, they sometimes have an evolutionary incentive to help one another), its apparent simplicity masks a host of conceptual subtleties, and the theory has proved a perennial source of controversy in evolutionary biology. To move towards a resolution of these controversies, we need (...) a careful and rigorous analysis of the philosophical foundations of the theory. My aim in this work is to provide such an analysis. I begin with an examination of the concepts behavioural ecologists employ to describe and classify types of social behaviour. I stress the need to distinguish concepts that are often conflated: for example, we need to distinguish simple cooperation from collaboration in collective tasks, behaviours from strategies, and control from manipulation and coercion. I proceed from here to the formal representation of kin selection via George R. Price’s covariance selection mathematics. I address a number of interpretative issues the Price formalism raises, including the vexed question of whether kin selection theory is ‘formally equivalent’ to multi-level selection theory. In the second half of the dissertation, I assess the uses and limits of Hamilton’s rule for the evolution of social behaviour; I provide a precise statement of the conditions under which the rival neighbour-modulated fitness and inclusive fitness approaches in contemporary kin selection theory are equivalent (and describe cases in which they are not); and I criticize recent formal attempts to establish the controversial claim that kin selection leads to organisms behaving as if maximizing their inclusive fitness. (shrink)
Supporting Hamilton’s inclusive fitness theory, archival analyses of inheritance patterns in wills have revealed that people invest more of their estates in kin of closer genetic relatedness. Recent classroom experiments have shown that this genetic relatedness effect is stronger for relatives of direct lineage (children, grandchildren) than for relatives of collateral lineage (siblings, nieces, nephews). In the present research, multilevel modeling of more than 1,000 British Columbian wills revealed a positive effect of genetic relatedness on proportions of estates allocated to (...) relatives. This effect was qualified by an interaction with lineage, such that it was stronger for direct than for collateral relatives. Exploratory analyses of the moderating role of benefactors’ sex and estate values showed the genetic relatedness effect was stronger among female and wealthier benefactors. The importance of these moderators to understanding kin investment in modern humans is discussed. (shrink)
Previous research indicates that birth order is a strong predictor of familial sentiments, with middleborns less family-oriented than first- or last-borns. In this research, effects of sex and birth order on the actual frequency of contact with maternal and paternal kin were examined in two studies. In Study 1, one hundred and forty undergraduates completed a questionnaire relating to the amount of time they spent in contact with specific relatives, while in Study 2, one hundred and twelve undergraduates completed the (...) same questionnaire with the addition of two questions relating to the subjects’ parents’ birth orders. Subjects were more likely to have frequent contact with maternal, as opposed to paternal, kin and women experienced more frequent contact than men with relatives in general. The birth order of subjects did not appear to have a significant influence on contact but the birth order of the subjects’ parents did, with the offspring of middleborn mothers having relatively little contact with maternal grandparents and the offspring of middleborn fathers having relatively little contact with paternal grandparents. These sex and birth order differences are discussed in relation to possible differences in how women and men use kinship ties and in terms of how birth order may influence parental solicitude. (shrink)
The evolution of human language, and the kind of thought the communication of which requires it, raises considerable explanatory challenges. These systems of representation constitute a radical discontinuity in the natural world. Even species closely related to our own appear incapable of either thought or talk with the recursive structure, generalized systematicity, and task-domain neutrality that characterize human talk and the thought it expresses. W. Tecumseh Fitch’s proposal (2004, in press) that human language is descended from a sexually selected, prosodic (...) proto-language that approximated its syntactic complexity, and later acquired semantics thanks to kin selection for its use as a means of pedagogical transmission, has the promise of meeting these explanatory challenges. However, Fitch’s theory raises two problems of its own: (1) according to Boyd and Richerson (1996, Proc. Br. Acad. 88: 77–93), circumstances in which pedagogy is adaptive are inevitably rare in nature, and (2) it is unlikely that our non-discursive precursors had generally systematic, task-domain neutral thoughts to communicate to their offspring. I propose solutions to these problems. Pedagogy would be favored in a population where complex rituals dominated diverse aspects of life. Prosodic proto-language could emerge as the medium of pedagogic transmission. As this medium was used to teach a greater variety of tasks, it would become increasingly general and domain neutral. The presence and importance of such a system of communication in hominid populations could then drive, via Baldwinian mechanisms, the evolution of a kind of ‘thinking for speaking’ (Slobin 1991, Pragmatics 1: 7–25) characterized by recursive structure, generalized systematicity, and task-domain neutrality. (shrink)
Kin selection and multilevel selection are alternative approaches for studying the evolution of social behaviour, the relation between which has long been a source of controversy. Many recent theorists regard the two approaches as ultimately equivalent, on the grounds that gene frequency change can be correctly expressed using either. However, this shows only that the two are formally equivalent, not that they offer equally good causal representations of the evolutionary process. This article articulates the notion of an ‘adequate causal representation’ (...) using causal graphs, and then seeks to identify circumstances under which kin and multilevel selection do and do not satisfy the test of causal adequacy. 1 Introduction2 The KS and MLS Approaches2.1 The MLS decomposition2.2 The KS decomposition3 Equivalence and Causality4 Two Problem Cases4.1 The non-social trait case4.2 Genotypic selection with meiotic drive5 Casual Adequacy: A Graphical Approach5.1 The basic idea5.2 Graphs with individual and group variables5.3 Cases where KS is causally adequate5.4 Cases where MLS is causally adequate6 Discussion6.1 Relation to previous work. (shrink)
BackgroundFunctional neurodiagnostics could allow researchers and clinicians to distinguish more accurately between the unresponsive wakefulness syndrome and the minimally conscious state. It remains unclear how it informs surrogate decision-making.ObjectiveTo explore how the next of kin of patients with disorders of consciousness interpret the results of a functional neurodiagnostics measure and how/why their interpretations influence their attitudes towards medical decisions.Methods and SampleWe conducted problem-centered interviews with seven next of kin of patients with DOC who had undergone a functional HD-EEG examination at (...) a neurological rehabilitation center in Germany. The examination included an auditory oddball paradigm and a motor imagery task to detect hidden awareness. We analyzed the interview transcripts using structuring qualitative content analysis.ResultsRegardless of the diagnostic results, all participants were optimistic of the patients’ meaningful recovery. We hypothesize, that participants deal with the results of examinations according to their belief system. Thus, an unfavorable evaluation of the patient’s state had the potential to destabilize the participant’s belief system. To re-stabilize or to prevent the destabilization of their belief system, participants used different strategies. Participants accepted a “positive” HD-EEG result since it stabilized their belief system.ConclusionWe hypothesize, that a group of next of kin of patients with DOC deals with functional neurodiagnostics results on the basis of the result’s value and their high hope that the patient will recover meaningfully. A psychological mechanism seems to moderate the impact of functional neurodiagnostics on surrogate treatment decisions. (shrink)
We use data collected among Hadza hunter-gatherers between 2005 and 2009 to examine hypotheses about the causes and consequences of men’s foraging and food sharing. We find that Hadza men foraged for a range of food types, including fruit, honey, small animals, and large game. Large game were shared not like common goods, but in ways that significantly advantaged producers’ households. Food sharing and consumption data show that men channeled the foods they produced to their wives, children, and their consanguineal (...) and affinal kin living in other households. On average, single men brought food to camp on 28% of days, married men without children at home on 31% of days, and married men with children at home on 42% of days. Married men brought fruit, the least widely shared resource, to camp significantly more often than single men. A model of the relationship between hunting success and household food consumption indicates that the best hunters provided 3–4 times the amount of food to their families than median or poor hunters. These new data fill important gaps in our knowledge of the subsistence economy of the Hadza and uphold predictions derived from the household and kin provisioning hypotheses. Key evidence and assumptions backing prior claims that Hadza hunting is largely a form of status competition were not replicated in our study. In light of this, family provisioning is a more viable explanation for why good hunters are preferred as husbands and have higher fertility than others. (shrink)
Continuing prior work by the author, a simple classical system for personal obligation is integrated with a fairly rich system for aretaic (agent-evaluative) appraisal. I then explore various relationships between definable aretaic statuses such as praiseworthiness and blameworthiness and deontic statuses such as obligatoriness and impermissibility. I focus on partitions of the normative statuses generated ("normative positions" but without explicit representation of agency). In addition to being able to model and explore fundamental questions in ethical theory about the connection between (...) blame, praise, permissibility and obligation, this allows me to carefully represent schemes for supererogation and kin. These controversial concepts have provided challenges to both ethical theory and deontic logic, and are among deontic logic's test cases. (shrink)
In this paper data from a Tanzanian horticultural population are used to assess whether mother’s kin network size predicts several measures of children’s health and well-being, and whether any kin effects are modified by household socioeconomic status. This hypothesis is further tested with a questionnaire on maternal attitudes towards kin. Results show small associations between measures of maternal kin network size and child mortality and children’s growth performance. Together these results suggest that kin positively influence child health, but the effects (...) are small and it is unlikely that the high prevalence of undernutrition observed in this setting is influenced by the availability of kin. (shrink)
Here I craft a case for recognizing the roots and patterns that ground the possibility of contemporary com-posting—as outlined in Donna Haraway’s Staying with the Trouble—by New Materialists and critical pragmatists, especially those who are affected by the social injustices and ill-advised practices of today’s formal education. I explore both Spinozan Ethics and American pragmatism in order to fashion a pattern that affects educational thought and action. That pattern of affect/affecting is one Haraway calls “attunement”, a state of co-relation that (...) makes “unexpected feats possible.” My goal is to encourage those educational theorists who dwell in a critical pragmatist archive and those who dwell in a New Materialist archive to “make kin,” to learn to play string figures with a companion species, as they com-post educational possibility in a world where agency is both more limited and more widely-distributed. (shrink)
BackgroundNorway has extensive and detailed legal requirements and guidelines concerning involvement of next of kin during involuntary hospital treatment of seriously mentally ill patients. However, we have little knowledge about what happens in practice. This study explores NOK’s views and experiences of involvement during involuntary hospitalisation in Norway.MethodsWe performed qualitative interviews-focus groups and individual-with 36 adult NOK to adults and adolescents who had been involuntarily admitted once or several times. The semi-structured interview guide included questions on experiences with and views (...) on involvement during serious mental illness and coercion.ResultsMost of the NOK were heavily involved in the patient’s life and illness. Their conceptions of involvement during mental illness and coercion, included many important aspects adding to the traditional focus on substitute decision-making. The overall impression was, with a few exceptions, that the NOK had experienced lack of involvement or had negative experiences as NOK in their encounters with the health services. Not being seen and acknowledged as important caregivers and co sufferers were experienced as offensive and could add to their feelings of guilt. Lack of involvement had as a consequence that vital patient information which the NOK possessed was not shared with the patient’s therapists.ConclusionsDespite public initiatives to improve the involvement of NOK, the NOK in our study felt neglected, unappreciated and dismissed. The paper discusses possible reasons for the gap between public policies and practice which deserve more attention: 1. A strong and not always correct focus on legal matters. 2. Little emphasis on the role of NOK in professional ethics. 3. The organisation of health services and resource constraints. 4. A conservative culture regarding the role of next of kin in mental health care. Acknowledging these reasons may be helpful to understand deficient involvement of the NOK in voluntary mental health services. (shrink)
My comments will focus on the second and third chapters of Sober’s book , which explore Darwin’s ideas about altruism, group selection and kin selection , and sex-ratio evolution . Sober makes a persuasive argument for his main claim: that Darwin was a subtler thinker on these topics than he is often taken to be. While there is much that I admire in Sober’s lucid discussion, I will focus on points of disagreement. Readers should note that this is not the (...) first time that Sober and I have disagreed on these issues .Sober begins his chapter on group selection with a brief history of the modern debate on the topic, which began in earnest in the 1960s. One of the key figures in this debate was George Williams, whose book Adaptation and Natural Selection helped convince many biologists that group selection was unlikely to be an important factor in evolution. Sober is critical of many of Williams’ arguments, though .. (shrink)
Against the Artists. Jun'ichirō Tanizaki and the Man of Art. -/- This essay explores the concepts of "art" (gei) and "man of art" (geinin) in Tanizaki's works. These two notions belong to an ancient Japanese aesthetic tradition. The concept of 'gei' means "realization", "skill", but also "technique" and "ability". Traditional stage performances such as 'nō', 'kyōgen', 'bunraku', 'kabuki', are typical examples of 'gei'. On the other hand the concept of 'geinin' implies three pivotal aspects: 1) a strict and harsh aesthetic (...) education; 2) an environment suitable to develop the man of art's sensitivity; 3) a long process of emotional maturation. This perspective, according to this paper, sheds light on the peculiar Japanese aesthetic "difference" in relation to the concepts of art and artist developed - on the contrary - in Western tradition. (shrink)
Dispersal of individuals from their natal communities at sexual maturity is an important determinant of kin association. In this paper we compare postmarital residence patterns among Pumé foragers of Venezuela to investigate the prevalence of sex-biased vs. bilateral residence. This study complements cross-cultural overviews by examining postmarital kin association in relation to individual, longitudinal data on residence within a forager society. Based on cultural norms, the Pumé have been characterized as matrilocal. Analysis of Pumé marriages over a 25-year period finds (...) a predominant pattern of natalocal residence. We emphasize that natalocality, bilocality, and multilocality accomplish similar ends in maximizing bilateral kin affiliations in contrast to sex-biased residential patterns. Bilateral kin association may be especially important in foraging economies where subsistence activities change throughout the year and large kin networks permit greater potential flexibility in residential mobility. (shrink)
Across a wide variety of cultural settings, kin have been shown to play an important role in promoting women’s reproductive success. Patrilocal postmarital residence is a potential hindrance to maintaining these support networks, raising the question: how do women preserve and foster relationships with their natal kin when propinquity is disrupted? Using census and interview data from the Himba, a group of semi-nomadic African pastoralists, I first show that although women have reduced kin propinquity after marriage, more than half of (...) married women are visiting with their kin at a given time. Mobility recall data further show that married women travel more than unmarried women, and that women consistently return to stay with kin around the time of giving birth. Divorce and death of a spouse also trigger a return to living with kin, leading to a cumulative pattern of kin coresidence across the lifespan. These data suggest that patrilocality may be less of a constraint on female kin support than has been previously assumed. (shrink)
Social support networks play a key role in human livelihood security, especially in vulnerable communities. Here we explore how evolutionary ideas of kin selection and intrahousehold resource competition can explain individual variation in daily support network size and composition in a south-central Ethiopian agricultural community. We consider both domestic and agricultural help across two generations with different wealth-transfer norms that yield different contexts for sibling competition. For farmers who inherited land rights from family, firstborns were more likely to report daily (...) support from parents and to have larger nonparental kin networks. Compared with other farmers, firstborns were also more likely to reciprocate their parents’ support, and to help nonparental kin without reciprocity. For farmers who received land rights from the government, middle-born farmers reported more nonparental kin in their support networks compared with other farmers; nonreciprocal interactions were particularly common in both directions. This suggests a diversification of adult support networks to nonparental kin, possibly in response to a long-term parental investment disadvantage of being middle-born sons. In all instances, regardless of inheritance, lastborn farmers were the most disadvantaged in terms of kin support. Overall, we found that nonreciprocal interactions among farmers followed kin selection predictions. Direct reciprocity explained a substantial part of the support received from kin, suggesting the importance of the combined effects of kin selection and reciprocity for investment from kin. (shrink)
Background: Coercion can cause harm to both the patient and the patient’s family. Few studies have examined how the coercive treatment of a close relative might affect young next-of-kin. Research questions: We aimed to investigate the views and experiences of health professionals being responsible for supporting young next-of-kin to patients in mental health care in relation to the needs of these young next-of-kin in coercive situations and to identify ethical challenges. Research design: We conducted a qualitative study based on semistructured, (...) focus group interviews and an individual interview. Participants and research context: We held three focus group interviews with six to seven children-responsible staff in each group and one individual interview with a family therapist. The participants were recruited from three hospital trusts in the eastern part of Norway. Ethical considerations: The study was approved by the National Data Protection Official for Research and based on informed consent and confidentiality. Findings: Coercion was not a theme among the participants in relation to their work with young next-of-kin, and there was much uncertainty related to whether these young people need special support to deal with the coercive treatment of their close relative. Despite the uncertainty, the study indicated a need for more information and emotional support among the youth. Discussion: Few studies have addressed the potential impact of coercive treatment of a close family member on young next-of-kin. The findings were consistent with existing research but highlighted disagreement and uncertainty among the children-responsible staff about to what extent the young next-of-kin should visit and whether they should enter the ward unit or not. We identified ethical challenges for the children-responsible staff related to the principle of not inflicting harm. Conclusion: From the perspective of children-responsible staff, it appears that the coercive treatment of a close family member entails a need for extra support of young relatives both in relation to information and the facilitation of visits, but more systematic knowledge about these issues is needed. (shrink)
A notable feature of nationalism's contemporary resurgence is the increasing eagerness of governments to support and shape the political causes of populations living abroad that are viewed as ethnic kindred. However, global criteria for judging when such kin state activism is and is not acceptable have so far remained elusive, as the objectionable instances of the practice tend to overshadow the legally and morally consistent ones. I argue that the analysis of world affairs and promotion of global justice would benefit (...) from an ethic of transnational conduct that has a rightful place for kin states. I defend a set of cosmopolitan criteria for this purpose, outlining how they enable us to recognize and combat the dangers posed by certain forms of kin state mobilization without forgoing the opportunities presented by certain other forms to overcome minority repression and enhance regional security. (shrink)
This article challenges the pessimistic view that empathy and other fellow feelings are biased and erratic motivation for morality. By discussing Mencius’ account on how to develop empathy from its biased and erratic beginnings, I argue that empathy can be extended to less common objects, such as non-kin, the faraway, the unfamiliar, and the abstract. The extension facilitated by empathy in turn enhances one’s moral cognition toward the sufferings of less common objects; the extension also helps to include less common (...) objects into one’s circle of care. I respond to critics of empathy such as Prinz by highlighting the dynamic cultivational process of empathy that they overlook, and further point out that empathy can be cultivated so as to provide a remedy for the biases that no emotion is immune to. This article contributes to the ongoing discussion on moral cultivation in the Chinese philosophy community and the dispute over empathy’s role in morality in contemporary ethics. (shrink)
Four models commonly employed in sharing analyses (reciprocal altruism [RA], tolerated scrounging [TS], costly signaling [CS], and kin selection [KS]) have common features which render rigorous testing of unique predictions difficult. Relaxed versions of these models are discussed in an attempt to understand how the underlying principles of delayed returns, avoiding costs, building reputation, and aiding biological kin interact in systems of sharing. Special attention is given to the interpretation of contingency measures that critically define some form of reciprocal altruism.
We designed an experiment to test the application of optimality theory (OT) in kinship terminology studies. Specifically, we examined the OT constraints within a set of behavioral data using Chinese kin terms. The results from this behavioral approach support and extend Jones' linguistic approach by identifying underlying cognitive mechanisms that can explain and predict behavioral responses in kinship identification.
The present discussion of sociobiological approaches to ethnic nepotism takes Pierre van den Berghe ʼs theory as a starting point. Two points, which have not been addressed in former analyses, are considered to be of particular importance. It is argued that the behavioral mechanism of ethnic nepotism—as understood by van den Berghe—cannot explain ethnic boundaries and attitudes. In addition, I show that van den Bergheʼs central premise concerning ethnic nepotism is in contradiction to Hamiltonʼs formula, the essential principle of kin (...) selection theory. It is further discussed how other approaches that make reference to ethnic nepotism are related to van den Bergheʼs account and its problems. I conclude with remarks on the evolutionary explanation of ethnic phenomena. (shrink)
Verbin, N., Divinely abused: a philosophical perspective on Job and his kin Content Type Journal Article DOI 10.1007/s11153-010-9262-5 Authors A. K. Anderson, Department of Religion, Wofford College, 429 N. Church St., Spartanburg, SC 29303, USA Journal International Journal for Philosophy of Religion Online ISSN 1572-8684 Print ISSN 0020-7047.
We suggest that there are two coordination games when it comes to understanding kin terminology. Jones' article focuses on the linguistic coordination inherent in developing meaningful kin terminologies, alluding briefly to the benefits of these kin terminologies for coordination in other domains. We enhance Jones' discussion by tracing the links between the structure of kin terminologies and their functions.
This paper considers the bioethics of estranged biological kin, who are biologically related people not in contact with one another (due to adoption, abandonment, or other long-term estrangement). Specifically, I am interested in what is owed to estranged biological kin in the event of medical need. A survey of current bioethics demonstrates that most analyses are not prepared to reckon with the complications of having or being estranged biological kin. For example, adoptees might wonder if a lack of contact with (...) biological kin could someday affect their medical care (or affect the medical care of their biological relatives). Estranged biological kin, such as adoptees, present us with a chance to think about human connection. After sketching several organ-donation and adoption tropes, I argue that a feminist analysis of vulnerability and dependency is helpful for understanding the confusing ties of estranged biological kin. I conclude by proposing a medical registry that would put adoptees and others in touch with their estranged biological kin on a medically as-needed basis. (shrink)
Identifying the determinants of reproductive success in small-scale societies is critical for understanding how natural selection has shaped human evolution and behavior. The available evidence suggests that status-accruing behaviors such as hunting and prosociality are pathways to reproductive success, but social egalitarianism may diminish this pathway. Here we introduce a mixed longitudinal/cross-sectional dataset based on 45 years of research with the Batek, a population of egalitarian rain forest hunter-gatherers in Peninsular Malaysia, and use it to test the effects of four (...) predictors of lifetime reproductive success: foraging return rate, sharing proclivity, cooperative foraging tendency, and kin presence. We found that none of these factors can explain variation in lifetime reproduction among males or females. We suggest that social egalitarianism, combined with strikingly low infant and juvenile mortality rates, can mediate the pathway between foraging, status-accruing behavior, and reproductive success. Our approach advocates for greater theoretical and empirical attention to quantitative social network measures, female foraging, and fitness outcomes. (shrink)
We demonstrate the existence of altruism via kin selection in artificial life and explore its nuances. We do so in the Avida system through a setup that is based on the behavior of colicinogenic bacteria: Organisms can kill unrelated organisms in a given radius but must kill themselves to do so. Initially, we confirm!results found in the bacterial world: Digital organisms do sacrifice themselves for their kin—an extreme example of altruism— and do so more often in structured environments, where kin (...) are always nearby, than in well-mixed environments, where the location of kin is stochastically determined. Having shown that helping one’s kin is advantageous, we turn our attention to investigating the efficacy and implications of the strategies of kincheaters, those who receive help from kin but do not return it. Contrary to the expectations of current theory, we find that kin-cheaters outcompete kin-altruists. Our results cause us to question the stability of strategies that involve altruism between kin. Knowing that kin-altruism persists in biological systems, however, we search for, and find, conditions that allow!kin-based altruism to persist in evolving!systems despite the!presence of kin-cheaters. (shrink)
In the analysis of intergenerational transfer, several improvements can be made. First, following kin selection theory, grandparents have kin other than grandchildren in which to invest and therefore any investigation into grandparents should take this perspective. Secondly, how transfers actually enhance the survivorship of younger relatives such as grandchildren must be better measured, especially in the ethnographic literature. Finally, the problem of indirect investments or targeting must be considered.
Atran & Norenzayan (A&N) fail to address several problems with commitment theory as it relates to non-kin altruism in religious contexts. They (1) provide little support for the contention that religious sacrifices function as signals, (2) do not distinguish between religious specialists and lay believers, and (3) conflate definitions of cooperation and sacrifice.
Joseph focuses on the ways in which ideas about family and family idioms, relationships, and practices ground and intersect with formal governmental policies and practices in the Middle East. Families and kinship are politically privileged in most Middle Eastern states and women and men are committed to their families in Lebanon in a manner that Joseph calls the “kin contract,” a commitment reinforced by a care/control paradigm in which familial care is often enmeshed with the control by a family system (...) organized around aged and gendered hierarchy. In the Middle East in general, Joseph argues, the citizen-subject is embedded in kinship relationships rather than being an autonomous self. The gendered nature of the citizen-subject emerges thus from the implicit and legally encoded kin contract which reinscribes patriarchal kinship with the force of state and religious institutional and practical backing. Families are regulated in turn by state and religious institutions in Middle Eastern countries, a type of mutual support that further bolsters what she calls patriarchal connectivity—the privileging of the authority of males and elders in a system in which the boundaries of selves are often fluid and focused on relationality. (shrink)
On the basis of a reinterpretation of the International Sexuality Description Project (ISDP) data, we suggest that findings are consistent with the view that human reproductive behaviour is largely under social control. Behaviours associated with a high Sociosexual Orientation Index (SOI) may be part of a progressive change in reproductive behaviour initiated by the dispersal of kin that occurs as societies modernize.
In _Cognitive Kin, Moral Strangers?_, Judith Benz-Schwarzburg investigates whether non-human animals share complex socio-cognitive abilities like culture, language and theory of mind with humans. She questions our supposedly human uniqueness and explores how cognitive kinship matters for animal ethics.
The investigations reported here are the result of three lucky events. The first occurred in 1986. I had recently done the work reported in Pesetsky (1987), and received in the mail a copy of Kiss (1986). Since I had argued at length that D-linked wh-phrases do not display Superiority effects. I was astonished by a paradigm reported by Kiss, which appears here as example (98). These facts remained stubbornly in my mind for the next decade as an unsolved puzzle. Kiss (...) did not publish this paper in the form that I received — and, in fact, did not even recall discovering the crucial facts when she heard this work presented as a talk in 1998. But the facts are hers nonetheless. (shrink)