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Kin selection and its critics

Birch, Jonathan ORCID: 0000-0001-7517-4759 and Okasha, Samir (2015) Kin selection and its critics. BioScience, 65 (1). pp. 22-32. ISSN 0006-3568

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Identification Number: 10.1093/biosci/biu196


Hamilton's theory of kin selection is the best-known framework for understanding the evolution of social behavior but has long been a source of controversy in evolutionary biology. A recent critique of the theory by Nowak, Tarnita, and Wilson sparked a new round of debate, which shows no signs of abating. In this overview, we highlight a number of conceptual issues that lie at the heart of the current debate. We begin by emphasizing that there are various alternative formulations of Hamilton's rule, including a general version, which is always true; an approximate version, which assumes weak selection; and a special version, which demands other restrictive assumptions. We then examine the relationship between the neighbor-modulated fitness and inclusive fitness approaches to kin selection. Finally, we consider the often-strained relationship between the theories of kin and multilevel selection.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2015 Oxford University Press
Divisions: Philosophy, Logic and Scientific Method
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
Date Deposited: 27 Apr 2015 08:59
Last Modified: 20 Oct 2021 02:16
Projects: FP7/20072013
Funders: European Research Council Seventh Framework Program

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