Lately, I've become a believer in the limits of reductionist explanations especially in areas like complex systems and biology. So, without wasting any more time, I'll get to my question..
Whenever we think of something like cooperation, the most common explanation that comes up is that of genetic fitness. It is said that evolution would have selected for psychological mechanisms of cooperation because it is beneficial in a society in which reciprocity is possible. You scratch my back, and I scratch yours. Add to the mix the ability to name names, and reputation becomes a kind of proxy signal for fitness.
Now, the major problem I have with this is does it all have to boil down to fitness? Can't it be a phenomenon that is culture-specific? Different cultures go to different lengths to help a stranger. Yet, we all share the same evolutionary history. This seems like a strong indicator that cooperation can't be reduced to one's genetic or reputational fitness alone. Should the study of cooperation be handed off to the anthropologists?