Spite is a puzzling human behavior that seemingly affords no value to its owner. But new research from assistant professor of philosophy Rory Smead reveals that spitefulness may actually be the unlikely origin of the kindly act of fairness.
A yellow-rumped caciques. Photo by Thinkstock. Spite, in the words of Merriam and Webster, is “the desire to hurt, annoy, or offend someone.” But I like this definition better: “Spite [is] the shady relative of altruism.” If altruism is costly behavior that helps another, spiteful characters pay to harm another. This…