Social behavior is often described as altruistic, spiteful, selfish, or mutually beneficial. These terms are appealing, but it has not always been clear how they are defined and what purpose they serve. Here, I show that the distinctions among them arise from the ways in which fitness is partitioned: none can be drawn when the fitness consequences of an action are wholly aggregated, but they manifest clearly when the consequences are partitioned into primary and secondary (neighbourhood) effects. I argue that the primary interaction is the principal source of adaptive design, because (i) it is this interaction that determines the fit of an adaptive and (ii) it is the actor and primary recipients whom an adaptation foremost affects. The categories of social action are thus instrumental to any account of evolved function.
Altruism and spite are pervasive, but widely misconstrued, phenomena.
Altruism has positive effects on recipients of the primary interaction and negative effects on the "neighborhood", whereas spite has the opposite effects.
Only the primary interaction determines the fit of an adaptation.
Thus, altruism and spite are best understood as pertaining to the consequences of actions on those primarily, rather than secondarily, involved.
When appreciated properly, these phenomena help us to recognize adaptive design.
Since 1945, there have been relatively few large interstate wars, especially compared to the preceding 30 years. The implications of this pattern, sometimes called “the Long Peace,” remain highly controversial. Is this an enduring trend toward peace
This guide was produced by the Stanley Foundation in collaboration with the Stimson Center. It reviews findings from a seven week consultation process with eighty-two professionals working in global governance.
Written byCurtis Bell, Patrick W. Keyson August 15, 2016
Few cross-national studies provide evidence of a relationship between environmental scarcity and conflict, although much of the literature claims that destabilizing effects of environmental crises can be mitigated by the right sociopolitical