Re: [asa] Altruism

From: Dave Wallace <>
Date: Thu Jun 14 2007 - 06:35:05 EDT

David Campbell wrote:
>> From a biological evolutionary viewpoint, there are at least four
> categories of "altruistic" behavior.
> 1) self-sacrifice for near kin
> 2) mutualism-both individuals help each other
> 3) commensalism or parasitism-one individual is benefitting and the
> other has no effect or a negative effect; participation by the second
> individual is accidental or unwilling
> 4) deliberate self-sacrifice without anticipation of a benefit to oneself.

Thanks David that is a good breakdown of the various aspect of altruism
and as usual I find your comments helpful. We keep a couple of small
dogs for many reasons including the fact that they make a very good
burglar alarms. Not long ago they started barking furiously and upon
looking out the side window I saw a small swarm of cops in the neighbors
and our driveways. Someone had been trying to steal a bike, probably to
pawn for drug money. Although the dogs would not be very physically
effective against someone actually breaking in, they would certainly try
to defend us. I have seen them become very aggressive in my vicinity
when other much larger dogs are behaving aggressively towards me. I
wonder which category such altruism would fall into? By the way we have
not trained them in such behavior at all. Sometimes I suspect category
1, as I think the dogs consider my wife and I as part of their pack.

Dave W

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Received on Thu Jun 14 06:37:02 2007

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