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The Bowerbirds and the Bees: Miller on Art, Altruism, and Sexual Selection

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Geoffrey Miller argues that we can account for the evolution of human art and altruism via the action of sexual selection. He identifies five characteristics supposedly unique to sexual adaptations: fitness indicating cost; involvement in courtship; heritability; variability; and sexual differentiation. Miller claims that art and altruism possess these characteristics. I argue that not only does he not demonstrate that art and altruism possess these characteristics, one can also explain the origins of altruism via a form of group selection and traits with the five characteristics in terms of a process I call “cultural sexual selection.”
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Keywords: Cultural Evolution; Evolutionary Explanations of Altruism; Evolutionary Psychology; Group Selection; Psychology of Art; Sexual Selection

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2006-08-01

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