, Volume 7, Issue 1, pp 61-68

On the relationship between evolutionary and psychological definitions of altruism and selfishness

Rent the article at a discount

Rent now

* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.

Get Access

Abstract

I examine the relationship between evolutionary definitions of altruism that are based on fitness effects and psychological definitions that are based on the motives of the actor. I show that evolutionary altruism can be motivated by proximate mechanisms that are psychologically either altruistic or selfish. I also show that evolutionary definitions do rely upon motives as a metaphor in which the outcome of natural selection is compared to the decisions of a psychologically selfish (or altruistic) individual. Ignoring the precise nature of both psychological and evolutionary definitions has obscured many important issues, including the biological roots of psychological altruism.