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The Fractal SelfScience, Philosophy, and the Evolution of Human Cooperation$
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John L. Culliney and David Jones

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780824866617

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824866617.001.0001

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Social Order in Nature

Social Order in Nature

Between Conflict and Cooperation

(p.96) 6 Social Order in Nature
The Fractal Self

John L. Culliney

David Jones

University of Hawai'i Press

In this chapter we look at patterns of coexistence and mutual support in symbiosis that appear at the most complex levels in the biology of animals, starting with a brief discussion of how evolution governs interrelationships between species. The chapter proceeds to examine recent discoveries of more intimate roles of sharing resources and altruistic interactions of individuals in populations of social animals. Kin selection’s role in inclusive fitness has been especially touted in eusocial species such as ants. Now this theory appears limited in light of new and perhaps revolutionary insights on various mechanisms that appear to trigger mutualistic social behavior. Reciprocal altruism’s uncanny relationship to the strategic game, Prisoner’s Dilemma, now appears more important than ever in explaining cooperative behavior in diverse animal groups. Ongoing research on social interactions of our nearest relatives among the great apes strongly indicates that empathy, sympathy, and rudiments of morality such as fairness evolved in common ancestors of higher primates that gave rise to human beings. This heritage has led to the threshold of the fractal self.

Keywords:   symbiosis, altruism, kin selection, inclusive fitness, eusocial species, reciprocal altruism, Prisoner’s Dilemma, bonobos, empathy, morality

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