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Contribution to Book
Altruism
Economics
  • Alexander J. Field, Santa Clara University
Document Type
Book Chapter
Publication Date
10-1-2004
Publisher
Macmillan Reference
Disciplines
Abstract
In biology an altruistic act increases the reproductive fitness of a member of the same species (a conspecific) while reducing the reproductive fitness of the one committing the act. Reproductive fitness refers to the differential ability of an organism to influence gene frequencies in future generations. Altruism is distinguished from mutualistic behavior, which increases the reproductive fitness of others as well as the actor. Altruism also is distinguished from selfishness, which benefits the actor and either does not benefit or harms others’ reproductive fitness.
Chapter of
Encyclopedia of Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity
Citation Information
Field, Alexander J. 2004. “Altruism,” in Encyclopedia of Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity, New York: Macmillan.