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A Cooperative Species by Herbert Gintis, Samuel Bowles

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3

Social Preferences

“Is there one word which may serve as a rule of practice all one’s life?” The Master said, “Is not reciprocity such a word?”

Confucius, The Analects, Book 15, Chapter 23. (4th C. BP)

A man ought to be a friend to his friend and repay gift with gift. People should meet smiles with smiles and lies with treachery. A man ought to be a friend to his friend and also to his friend’s friend. But no one should be friendly with a friend of his foe.

The Edda (1923[13th C.]) verses 42, 43

Cooperation is common in humans in large part because people are motivated by social preferences: they care about the well-being of others and value fairness and other norms of decent behavior. Our explanation is that these social preferences are the ...

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