Henry Osborn Taylor, William Morton Wheeler, Alfred North Whitehead, Lawrence J. Henderson (whiteheadresearch.org)

“Path to the Present”

Cambridge Handbook of Evolutionary Ethics, edited by Michael Ruse and Robert Richards (Cambridge University Press, 2017), 72-86

Biologists have struggled to explain the evolutionary origins of ethical behavior for more than 150 years. They have offered a variety of explanations, some of which have even enjoyed broad support from time to time, but these explanations have just as often inspired heated protests. This chapter reviews the past 150 years of sociobiological thought. It will focus on one particular institution, Harvard University, where many of these battles have played out, but it also places the research conducted at Harvard within a larger national and international context.