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Reintroducing Kin Selection to the Human Behavioral Sciences

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 January 2022


Humans are often altruistic in a variety of contexts, even toward strangers they may never meet again. What explains this behavior? Many argue that kin selection cannot explain it but group selection can. Contra this common line of reasoning, I provide two ways that kin selection might help explain the evolution of broad-scope human altruism: in gene-culture coevolution and in a ‘cultural’ version of kin selection.

Research Article
Copyright © The Philosophy of Science Association

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I would like to thank Simon Huttegger, Brian Skyrms, Cailin O’Connor, and audiences at Caltech and University of California, Irvine, for feedback on an early version of this article. Thanks also to Jonathan Birch for discussions on cultural kin selection. Finally, thanks to two anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments.


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