The Altruism Paradox: A Consequence of Mistaken Genetic Modeling

Biological Theory 8 (1):103-113 (2013)
Download Edit this record How to cite View on PhilPapers
The theoretical heuristic of assuming distinct alleles (or genotypes) for alternative phenotypes is the foundation of the paradigm of evolutionary explanation we call the Modern Synthesis. In modeling the evolution of sociality, the heuristic has been to set altruism and selfishness as alternative phenotypes under distinct genotypes, which has been dubbed the “phenotypic gambit.” The prevalence of the altruistic genotype that is of lower evolutionary fitness relative to the alternative genotype for non-altruistic behavior in populations is the basis of the “paradox of altruism.” I show in this article that the assumption of contrasting genotypes for altruism and selfishness in our “phenotypic gambit” is inconsistent with the empirical data when viewed in the light of today’s post-Mendelian understanding of gene expression. I demonstrate that however nuanced and sophisticated the models may have become today, they are still rooted in that fundamentally problematic assumption. I then offer a genetic conception of altruism that best fits the field data
PhilPapers/Archive ID
Revision history
Archival date: 2017-11-22
View upload history
References found in this work BETA

View all 11 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Add more citations

Added to PP index

Total views
95 ( #30,613 of 45,660 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
25 ( #28,974 of 45,660 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads since first upload
This graph includes both downloads from PhilArchive and clicks to external links.