The Review of Austrian Economics, 18:2, 223–226, 2005. 2005 Springer Science + Business Media, Inc. Manufactured in The Netherlands. Book Review ALEXANDER J. FIELD (2001) Altruistically Inclined? The Behavioral Sciences, Evolutionary Theory, and the Origins of Reciprocity. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press. ISBN 0-472-11224-4. x-373 pp. Alexander Field’s Altruistically Inclined? seeks to explain the origin of human altruism. In undertaking this ambitious project Field employs insights from a variety of disciplines including biology, anthropology, psychology and economics. While the book does not contribute original ideas to any of these disciplines, it provides an excellent overview of topics within each for the reader who is likely a specialist in one area but unfamiliar with the others. Thus the book provides a good introduction to basic game theory for biolo- gists and explains concepts from evolutionary biology in a way that is accessible to social scientists. According to Field, economists have been reluctant to accept mounting evidence that altruism is a signiﬁcant factor motivating human behavior. Rational choice models assume agents are self-interested (i.e., wealth maximizers) and jettisoning this assumption renders economics impotent to explain certain phenomena economists would like to explain. Field points out that recognizing altruism as an
The Review of Austrian Economics – Springer Journals
Published: Jan 1, 2005
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