© 2020 Texas Public Radio
Real. Reliable. Texas Public Radio.
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations

The Source: Does Altruism Exist?

1024px-Belisaire_demandant_l'aumone_Jacques-Louis_David.jpg
Jacques-Louis David http://bit.ly/18DmyPv
/
CC

  Is altruism natural? Can you find it in the animal kingdom or is it special to the human race?

David Sloan Wilson, distinguished professor of Biology and Anthropology at the State University of New York Binghamton, asks these questions in a new book. Does Altruism Exist? explores how selflessness may fit in with biological social groups.

The book addresses one of humanity’s most fundamental philosophical questions through an interdisciplinary lens to better understand altruism’s roots in biological evolution. Building on this foundation, Wilson continues to investigate how altruism shaped us and how it will continue to impact the human race in the future.

Wilson combines anthropological ideas about society with biological theories of evolution to discuss the origins of altruism and its functions. He argues that altruism can be more complicated than often assumed, sometimes overlapping with selfishness. At the same time, altruism can result in the social group working, and ultimately surviving, together. Even today, Altruism can even be seen in our modern day life, everywhere from religion to economics, and continues to be an influential factor in our continued evolution.