Encyclopedia of Food and Agricultural Ethics

2019 Edition
| Editors: David M. Kaplan

Food Altruism

  • Esther RebatoEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-024-1179-9_554



As species, humans are extremely altruistic Primates, and although we often act in our own interest, we also have a sincere concern for the welfare of others (Silk and House 2011). In a biological sense, altruism can be defined as “acting to increase another individual’s lifetime number of offspring at a cost to one’s own survival and reproduction” (Krebs and Davies 1993). According to this, altruism is a paradox in evolutionary terms and it seems inconsistent with natural selection. This key mechanism of evolution is not expected to favor indiscriminate altruism, because altruists bear the costs of the altruistic behaviors that they perform; this reduces their relative fitness (Silk and House 2011). Fitness involves the ability of organisms to survive and reproduce in the environment in which they find themselves and, as consequence of this, organisms provide genes to the next generation.

However, different forms of...

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© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Genetics, Physical Anthropology and Animal Physiology, Faculty of Science and TechnologyUniversity of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU)BilbaoSpain