Altruism : David Sloan Wilson

1960 Words8 Pages
Introduction The subject of altruism has a long history of contention amongst academic researchers and religious scholars alike. The term itself originated in the 19th century, first coined by French philosopher, Auguste Comte. Since then however, there have been many different theories and evaluations regarding altruism. David Sloan Wilson, a distinguished Professor of Biological Sciences and Anthropology at Binghamton University, has attempted to provide a new insight into this topic, using his knowledge on some of the latest developments in evolutionary biology. In his work, Wilson successfully and succinctly examines and develops a clear understanding of how he understands altruism to have arisen and how it is maintained, giving reference to its occurrence in psychology, religion and economic environments, as well as how it affects people’s everyday lives and an explanation for pathological manifestations, lastly touching on the view of planetary altruism. However, he fails to address some questions regarding the validity of his proposed theories, namely how he supposes that altruistic groups arise in nature and why, if his theories are correct, the current world is not ruled by certain highly altruistic groups such as the Hutterites or the Amish. Summary of Key Arguments Near the end of the introductory chapter, Wilson states that, if he has written something of value, it will be defined by his reader’s understanding of why evolutionary theory is an essential factor in

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