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Moving Beyond Self-InterestPerspectives from Evolutionary Biology, Neuroscience, and the Social Sciences$
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Stephanie L. Brown, R. Michael Brown, and Louis A. Penner

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780195388107

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195388107.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 27 November 2020

Motivation and the Delivery of Social Services

Motivation and the Delivery of Social Services

17 Motivation and the Delivery of Social Services
Moving Beyond Self-Interest

Julian Le Grand

Oxford University Press

This chapter considers the implications of the neuroscience of caregiving and altruism for the discipline of political science. It describes the non-biological explanations for human behavior widely used in political science and questions their validity given new knowledge about the evolution of altruism and the neurophysiology of human behavior. In an effort toward consilience of biology and the social sciences, a set of hypotheses concerning the origins and development of human society is derived from the model of the caregiving system. After demonstrating that the hypotheses regarding the effects of the caregiving system on social evolution are consistent with existing archeological and anthropological evidence, the chapter turns to an analysis of myths and institutions in the polis of ancient Athens to explore how biology and culture have interacted to form and sustain large-scale societies and polities. The conclusion considers how knowledge of the caregiving system helps not only to explain the path of human social evolution, but also problematic features of contemporary politics, such as national identity and conflict, and the willingness of citizens to fight, kill, and die for their countries in war.

Keywords:   caregiving, caregiving system, altruism, human social evolution, neuroscience, social sciences, consilience, polities, war

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