PSA2016: The 25th Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association

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The Evolution of Altruism

It remains unclear whether (altruistic) behavior is ever motivated altruistically—by a pure motive to benefit others rather than some selfish interest or, as in the case of social insects, automatic control mechanisms. Equally unclear is whether psychological altruism—altruistic behavior based on altruistic motives—can be selected for. I will argue that the answer to both questions is yes. Some organisms are altruistically motivated, and such altruistic motivation is adaptive under certain circumstances. Thus, psychological altruism can be selected for.

Author Information:

Gualtiero Piccinini    
Philosophy/Arts and Sciences
University of MO - Saint Louis

Armin Schulz    
Department of Philosophy
University of Kansas


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