Chapter

Pathology, Evolution, and Altruism

David Sloan Wilson

in Pathological Altruism

Published in print December 2011 | ISBN: 9780199738571
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199918669 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199738571.003.0286
Pathology, Evolution, and Altruism

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Adaptations that are favored by natural selection can nevertheless count as pathological when they harm others or even the individual over the long term. This statement holds for altruism, along with other traits. By definition, altruism is vulnerable to exploitation and therefore harmful for the altruist some of the time. In addition, altruism practiced within a group is often directed against other groups. Social environments are pathological when they cause altruistic social strategies to fail in competition with selfish social strategies.

Keywords: altruism; exploitation; group; natural selection; pathological altruism; selfish; social strategy

Chapter.  2821 words. 

Subjects: Social Psychology

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