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A Cooperative Species by Herbert Gintis, Samuel Bowles

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Appendix

A1 Altruism Defined

In Chapters 1, 2, and 4 we provide two definitions of altruism, one concerning preferences (other-regarding or self-regarding) that motivate behavior and the other based on its fitness effects on the actor and others.

The standard biological definition of altruism concerns not the motives for an action but rather its effects. This definition considers a large population composed of many groups: the behaviors induced by an altruistic genotype increase the expected average fitness of members of the group of which the focal individual is a member, but the focal individual would have higher fitness were he not the bearer of the altruistic genotype. To make this clear, following Kerr et al. (2004), suppose the expected ...

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