Citation: Pichl, H. (1997) On human altruism and selfish memes. Oikos, 79, 619–620.
Key words: Memetics, reciprocal altruism, evolutionarily stable strategy, gene–culture co-evolution, Homo sapiens.
Abstract: A reply to Tullberg & Tullberg (1996) in which I show that there is no contradiction between the finding that altruism is evolutionarily unstable, and the wish to teach altruism. As teaching means spreading memes, and a meme’s spreading ability (its persuasiveness) is quite distinct from its effects (on its bearers fitness), there is no reason to doubt that behavioural traits which could not have evolved by genetic evolution, might evolve memetically.
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Response: Field has criticised some aspects (that he thought were part) of this paper:
Related publications: A further elaboration of this paper appeared in 1999.