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Altruism and HealthPerspectives from Empirical Research$
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Stephen G. Post

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780195182910

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195182910.001.0001

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A Short Natural History of Altruism and Healing

A Short Natural History of Altruism and Healing

Chapter:
(p.332) 18 A Short Natural History of Altruism and Healing
Source:
Altruism and Health
Author(s):

Christopher Boehm

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195182910.003.0022

This chapter explores the deep evolutionary roots of altruism and healing. It discusses medical practices among apes, as well as their medical helping behaviours. It then moves to a focus on the role of the shaman as an altruistic healer and the salutary aspects of reduced stress in the agent of altruism. It shows that the roots of genetic altruism that affect health are ancient and heavily involved with our evolved human nature. Humans evolved to be altruistic in various ways and ‘our altruism impinges significantly on our own health and that of others’.

Keywords:   altruistic behaviour, healing, evolution, helping behaviour, human nature, apes, shaman

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