ch 7 - 3228 - Chapter 7 The Evolutionary Psychology of...

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Charity Begins at Home - Inclusive Fitness Theory and Kin Altruism Evolutionists define altruism purely in terms of the act performed, not the intention behind itSelf-sacrificing behaviour involve giving aid to relative with which the altruist shares a varying proportion of their genes In Hamilton’s terminology we can expect ‘actors’ to show self-sacrificing behaviour for ‘recipients’ (relatives) when the cost to the actor is less than the benefit to the recipientc < rbc is the cost tot he actor, r is the coefficient of relatedness and b is the benefit to the recipient Modern-day evolutionist consider the genes which are passed on to the next generation via an individual’s own offspring as their direct fitness and those which are passed on via aid to other kin as their indirect fitnessTaken together direct and indirect fitness equal inclusive fitness Hamilton argued that we can predict that animals are likely to provide care for others who share genes with them by common descent and that the amount of care given will increase as does the proportion of these genes shared Kin selection is part of natural selection that promotes the favoring of relatives Can Kin Altruism Explain Human Acts of Self-Sacrifice?The idea that animals help their kin in the interests of shared genes by common descent is not problematicHowever, applying the same reasoning to our own species is has led to a number of quite vociferous debatesThis does not mean that humans continually act to increase their inclusive fitness but that we have developed the type of mind which tends to do things that aided inclusive fitness in our past and may frequently do so today People may rely more on friends for companionship but, when it comes to life-threatening circumstances, charity does begin at homeAdoption and Fractions - Shalins’ Criticisms of Kin Altruism Despite these positive finding some acts of human kindness appear to run counter to Hamilton’s notion of a species of nepotistic strategists

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