A history of the altruism-morality debate in biology

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

Abstract

Many different histories of the altruism-morality debate in biology are possible. Here, I offer one such history, based on the juxtaposition of four pairs of historical figures who have played a central role in the debate. Arranged in chronological order, the four dyads - Huxley and Kropotkin, Fisher and Emerson, Wynne-Edwards and Williams, and Hamilton and Price - help us grasp the core issues that have framed and defined the debate ever since Darwin: the natural origins of morality, the individual versus collective approach, the levels of selection debate, and the Is-Ought distinction. Looking forward, the continued relevance of the core issues is discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEvolved Morality
Subtitle of host publicationThe Biology and Philosophy of Human Conscience
Pages11-29
Number of pages19
ISBN (Electronic)9789004263888
StatePublished - 20 Feb 2014

Keywords

  • Altruism
  • Evolution
  • History
  • Morality

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Arts and Humanities
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
  • General Psychology
  • General Neuroscience

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