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Analyse & Kritik

Journal of Philosophy and Social Theory

Ed. by Baurmann, Michael / Leist, Anton

2 Issues per year

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Volume 27, Issue 1 (May 2005)


Altruists with Green Beards: Still Kicking?

Robert H. Frank
Published Online: 2016-05-14 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/auk-2005-0104


In earlier work, I proposed the ‘adaptive standard of rationality’, according to which narrow self-interest models can be broadened by positing additional tastes, but only upon a plausible showing that those tastes do not hamper resource acquisition in competitive environments. This proposal is related to the green beard hypothesis from biology, according to which altruism might be adaptive if its presence could be reliably signaled by some observable feature, such as a green beard. In their contribution to this issue Ernst Fehr and Urs Fischbacher offer theoretical arguments and describe laboratory experiments whose results they interpret as refuting my version of the green beard hypothesis. In this response, I argue that their theoretical arguments and experimental evidence pose no threat to the green beard hypothesis.

About the article

Published Online: 2016-05-14

Published in Print: 2005-05-01

Citation Information: Analyse & Kritik, ISSN (Online) 2365-9858, ISSN (Print) 0171-5860, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/auk-2005-0104.

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© 2005 by Lucius & Lucius, Stuttgart.

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