If evolution is a ‘struggle for existence’, why do we witness so much altruism in nature? From bacteria to baboons, the natural world is full of spectacular examples of organisms cooperating with one another. In the early 1960s, W. D. Hamilton changed the way we think about how such behaviour evolves, and his pioneering work kick-started a research programme now known as ‘social evolution theory’. Our panel of biologists and philosophers of biology will discuss the legacy of Hamilton’s ideas, and the evolution of altruism in microbes, insects, humans, and the cells of our own bodies.
Jonathan Birch, Fellow, The Forum; Assistant Professor of Philosophy, LSE
Heikki Helanterä, Group Leader, Centre of Excellence in Biological Interactions, University of Helsinki
Hannah Rubin, Postdoctoral Researcher in Theoretical Philosophy, University of Groningen
Bryan Roberts, Assistant Professor of Philosophy, LSE
In conjunction with the CPNSS