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Analyse & Kritik

Journal of Philosophy and Social Theory

Ed. by Baurmann, Michael / Leist, Anton / Tranow, Ulf

2 Issues per year

Online
ISSN
2365-9858
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Volume 27, Issue 1

Issues

The Biological and Evolutionary Logic of Human Cooperation

Terence C. Burnham / Dominic D. P. Johnson
Published Online: 2016-05-14 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/auk-2005-0107

Abstract

Human cooperation is held to be an evolutionary puzzle because people voluntarily engage in costly cooperation, and costly punishment of non-cooperators, even among anonymous strangers they will never meet again. The costs of such cooperation cannot be recovered through kin-selection, reciprocal altruism, indirect reciprocity, or costly signaling. A number of recent authors label this behavior ‘strong reciprocity’, and argue that it is: (a) a newly documented aspect of human nature, (b) adaptive, and (c) evolved by group selection. We argue exactly the opposite; that the phenomenon is: (a) not new, (b) maladaptive, and (c) evolved by individual selection. In our perspective, the apparent puzzle disappears to reveal a biological and evolutionary logic to human cooperation. Group selection may play a role in theory, but it is neither necessary nor sufficient to explain human cooperation. Our alternative solution is simpler, makes fewer assumptions, and is more parsimonious with the empirical data.

About the article

Published Online: 2016-05-14

Published in Print: 2005-05-01


Citation Information: Analyse & Kritik, Volume 27, Issue 1, Pages 113–135, ISSN (Online) 2365-9858, ISSN (Print) 0171-5860, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/auk-2005-0107.

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© 2005 by Lucius & Lucius, Stuttgart.

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