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David discusses morality from an evolutionary perspective with analytic philosopher Peter J. Richerson.

Peter is best known for his seminal work on cultural evolution with his frequent collaborator Robert Boyd. Their book, Not by Genes Alone: How Culture Transformed Human Evolution, remains a pivotal work in the study of humanity from a full-bodied evolutionary perspective.

This is the second episode of a two-part series on morality out of the TVOL archives. Listen to the first episode with philosopher Simon Blackburn. Dive deeper with our special publication asking scientists and philosophers if there is a universal morality.


Published On: August 9, 2020

Peter J. Richerson

Peter J. Richerson

Peter J. Richerson is a Distinguished Professor Emeritus in the Department of Environmental Science and Policy at the University of California—Davis. His research focuses on the processes of cultural evolution. His 1985 book with Robert Boyd, Culture and the Evolutionary Process, applied the mathematical tools used by organic evolutionists to study a number of basic problems in human cultural evolution. His recent books with Boyd includes Not By Genes Alone: How Culture Transformed Human Evolution, an introduction to cultural evolution aimed at a broad audience and The Origins and Evolution of Cultures, a compendium of their more important papers and book chapters. His recent publications used theoretical models to try to understand some of the main events in human evolution, such as the evolution of the advanced capacity for imitation (and hence cumulative cultural evolution) in humans, the origins of tribal and larger scale cooperation, and the origins of agriculture. He and his colleagues also investigate cultural evolution in laboratory microsocieties.

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