Why reciprocal altruism is not a kind of group selection

Published

Journal Article

Reciprocal altruism was originally formulated in terms of individual selection and most theorists continue to view it in this way. However, this interpretation of reciprocal altruism has been challenged by Sober and Wilson (1998). They argue that reciprocal altruism (as well as all other forms of altruism) evolves by the process of group selection. In this paper, we argue that the original interpretation of reciprocal altruism is the correct one. We accomplish this by arguing that if fitness attaches to (at minimum) entire life cycles, then the kind of fitness exchanges needed to form the group-level in such situations is not available. Reciprocal altruism is thus a result of individual selection and when it evolves, it does so because it is individually advantageous. © 2011 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Ramsey, G; Brandon, R

Published Date

  • May 1, 2011

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 26 / 3

Start / End Page

  • 385 - 400

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1572-8404

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0169-3867

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1007/s10539-011-9261-7

Citation Source

  • Scopus