Dina asked in Social ScienceAnthropology · 4 months ago

Question about: Sapolsky's article ‘This is Your Brain on Nationalism: The Biology of Us and Them'.?

Sapolsky implicitly argues in his article ‘This is Your Brain on Nationalism: The Biology of Us and Them’ that in human beings, reciprocal altruism is more important than kin altruism. However, he does not write explicitly about kinds of altruism. Is there a way to interpret this in term of different kinds of altruism?

2 Answers

  • 4 months ago

    Are you asking for how he's defining the terms? Kin means indirect benefit to relatives. Reciprocal is direct to non-relatives.

  • Anonymous
    4 months ago

    Altruism is BS. Reciprocal altruism is in reality cooperation, or mutualism. You scratch my back and I scratch yours. The term altruism has been abused to death. Researchers have shown that sterile ants and bees do not voluntarily give up reproduction. Instead, sterility is enforced. Queen ants, for example, send out chemicals that suppress the reproductive cycle of worker ants, and often if workers lay eggs, they are destroyed.Indeed worker ants and bees are nothing more than slaves of their queens. They do NOT increase their inclusive fitness by giving up reproduction, as studies also show that workers are no more closely related to the future queens than than they are to their own potential descendants.

    Not only is the term altruism not applicable to eusocial insects, it is also abused when it is applied to other animals. Basically, if an individual cooperates with others they are termed "altruistic." If an individual does not act overtly selfish, then the term is also applied to them. If some stranger on the street does not rob you, then he is considered altruistic. LOL

    Some behavior by humans may be considered altruistic, but often times that was never the intent of the actor. He/she simply sees something that they think they should do, and they do it because it makes them feel good. Donating to charity, for example, simply make some people feel good.

    Similarly, a cat licking another cat's fur, instead of its own, may be considered altruistic, but the cat does it because it feels good. It feels good because evolution has evolved ways to make animals feel good by flooding the brain with oxytocin, the bonding hormone, when they do things that is beneficial to their own fitness. Bonding with their mothers, kittens, or siblings by licking them is good for a cat because it promotes togetherness and therefore personal safety. It also makes them feel good. To some people, however, they have to find a reason why such behavior can increase inclusive fitness because it is the only way they think "altruistic" behavior can ever evolve

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