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The Philosophy of Social Evolution - Oxford Scholarship Online
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The Philosophy of Social Evolution

Jonathan Birch


From microbes to humans, the natural world is full of spectacular examples of social behaviour. In the 1960s, W. D. Hamilton introduced three key innovations—now known as Hamilton’s rule, kin selection, and inclusive fitness—that changed the way we think about how social behaviour evolves, beginning a research program now known as social evolution theory. This is a book about the philosophical foundations and future prospects of that program. Part I, ‘Foundations’, provides a philosophical analysis of Hamilton’s core ideas, with some modifications along the way. We will see that Hamilton’s rul ... More

Keywords: social evolution, social behaviour, cooperation, inclusive fitness, kin selection, Hamilton’s rule, cultural evolution, relatedness

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2017 Print ISBN-13: 9780198733058
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2017 DOI:10.1093/oso/9780198733058.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Jonathan Birch, author
London School of Economics and Political Science