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Discuss Evolutionary Explanations Of Altruism 22904

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Discuss Evolutionary Explanations Of Altruism

Discuss evolutionary explanations of altruism
Altruism is a very interesting subject and is the cause for much debate throughout many academic areas as well as psychology, such as biology and economics. People are always asking ‘Is there such a thing as true altruism?’ To begin I would like to define what I mean by altruism. One definition of altruism is ‘selfless concern for the well-being of others’ (Concise Oxford English Dictionary, 2002). Altruism is any behaviour that has some benefit to the recipient at some cost to the donor. Evolutionary theory leads us to consider altruism in terms of the costs and benefits to the altruist. A trait is said to be evolutionarily altruistic because of the effects it has on fitness. An organism's fitness is its ability to be reproductively successful; survival is relevant to fitness only to the extent that it promotes reproductive success. The barbed stinger of the honeybee can be considered an altruistic trait; the bee disembowels itself when it stings an intruder to the nest; the stinger keeps pumping venom even after the bee has died, which is of benefit



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