The Origin and Evolution of Cultures

By Robert Boyd; Peter J. Richerson | Go to book overview

13
The Evolution of Altruistic
Punishment

With Herbert Gintis and Samuel Bowles

Unlike any other species, humans cooperate with nonkin in large groups. This behavior is puzzling from an evolutionary perspective because cooperating individuals incur individual costs to confer benefits on unrelated group members. None of the mechanisms commonly used to explain such behavior allows the evolution of altruistic cooperation in large groups. Repeated interactions may support cooperation in dyadic relations (Axelrod and Hamilton, 1981; Trivers, 1971; Clutton-Brock and Parker, 1995), but this mechanism is unsustainable if the number of individuals interacting strategically is larger than a handful (Boyd and Richerson, 1998). Interdemic group selection can lead to the evolution of altruism only when groups are small and migration is infrequent (Sober and Wilson, 1998; Eshel, 1972; Aoki, 1982; Rogers, 1990). A third recently proposed mechanism (Hauert, De Monte, Hofbauer, and Sigmund, 2002) requires that asocial, solitary types outcompete individuals living in uncooperative social groups, an implausible assumption for humans.

Altruistic punishment provides one solution to this puzzle. In laboratory experiments, people punish noncooperators at a cost to themselves even in oneshot interactions (Fehr and Gächter, 2002; Ostrom, Gardner, and Walker, 1994), and ethnographic data suggest that such altruistic punishment helps to sustain cooperation in human societies (Boehm, 1993). It might seem that invoking altruistic punishment simply creates a new evolutionary puzzle: why do people incur costs to punish others and provide benefits to nonrelatives? However, here we show that group selection can lead to the evolution of altruistic punishment in larger groups because the problem of deterring free riders in the case of altruistic cooperation is fundamentally different from the problem of deterring free riders in the case of altruistic punishment. This asymmetry arises

-241-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
The Origin and Evolution of Cultures
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this book
  • Bookmarks
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
/ 456

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.