The Origins Of Virtue By The Zoologist Matt Ridley

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The zoologist Matt Ridley explores the question of why human beings are so cooperative, even though we are built of "selfish genes" in his book: The Origins of Virtue. The book lines up a large selection of examples of cooperation, utilizing different scientific approaches such as economy, sociology, evolutionary biology, anthropology (Rinaldo, 1997). It argues that in some human relationships natural selection promotes virtue and trust, but at the same time humans are egoistic and motivated by self-interest (Leigh, 2000). The book begins with the description of the genetic foundations of human nature and argues that cooperation is grounded in evolutionary theory (Dugatkin, 1998) and describes cooperation and selfishness utilizing the examples of ants, corals, bees, mother and embryo relationship. Next, the division of labour is examined using the notion of Adam Smith about specialization which is essential to trade and elevates the society to be more than just the sum of its parts. Chapter 3 is devoted to the Prisoner 's Dilemma from game theory, which can be traced through the rest of the book. It deals with how people are led by self-interest or cooperation, how reciprocal humans and animals are because eventually we gain more from cooperation, despite the temptation to cheat (Markóczy & Goldberg, 1997). This chapter is followed by the extensions and conditions that are necessary to get reciprocal altruism, which is uniquely mastered by humans. The next two chapters

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