Re: "Cross-specifically" - with an example added

Lawrence S. Sugiyama (6500sug@UCSBUXA.UCSB.EDU)
Sat, 27 Jul 1996 16:09:19 -0700

On Fri, 26 Jul 1996, Robert Snower wrote:

> At 06:07 PM 7/26/96 +0000, Ronald Kephart wrote:
> >In message <> "Jesse S. Cook III" writes:
> >
> >> I would not consider the maternal instinct to protect offspring as
> >> altruistic behavior, even in humans; it is clearly adaptive.
> >
> --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> The sociobiologists do not consider the maternal instinct as altruistic
> behavior either. But your phrase "(because) even in humans it is clearly
> adaptive" would not make any sense to them, because altruistic behavior can
> be adaptive.
> RS
Right, see previous post today. In this case what is apparently altruistic
and what is not is defined in relationship to the theoretical dev. of the field to
some extent. From an adaptationist point of view, it is helpful not to
dwell too much on the cost to the altruist aspect of the formulation as
well, and just to focus on the adaptations that give rise to the
provision of benefits to others, and note that this can happen even
without additional cost to the altruist. See Tooby and Cosmides
forthcoming Bankers Paradox article.
> --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> >I, for one, wonder there is in fact such a thing as a "maternal instinct."
> Does
> >anyone else have a problem with this?
> >
> >Ron Kephart
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> There was a long story on National Public Radio this morning, someone just
> told me, to the effect that they have just discovered a gene in mice which
> turns their maternal instinct on and off. When normal, on, when altered,
> off. The fellow who told me thinks the people were from Harvard and Emory.
> Best wishes. R. Snower