This View of Life

This View of Life

This View of Life takes a deep dive with the best and brightest thinkers on anything and everything from an evolutionary perspective. Hosted by David Sloan Wilson.

Episodes

March 15, 2023 61 mins

Increasingly, policymakers, investors, and advocates recognize that the neoliberal theory of economic organization – laissez faire – is a failed experiment. However, certain areas of law – particularly antitrust law are still beholden to false econometric notions about how markets operate, which influences legal interpretation, case precedent, and ongoing debates about reviving antitrust’s role in the political economy. Can Multile...

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J. Arvid Agren's book The Gene's Eye View of Evolution (Oxford University Press, 2021), is a highly praised scholarly account of the concept of selfish genes, which Richard Dawkins made hugely popular in 1976. Dawkins himself calls Agren's book "the most thorough reading of the relevant literature that I have ever encountered...he gets it right." But what does this mean? In this nearly two hour conversation, I take a deep dive with...

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Max Beilby and Steve Colarelli discuss the application of evolutionary psychology to Human Resource Management. They cover Steve’s academic career, and his books No Best Way: An Evolutionary Perspective on Human Resource Management and The Biological Foundations of Organizational Behavior (which Steve co-edited with his colleague Richard Arvey). They also explore the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic on the world of work.

Stephen...

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Kurt Johnson wears many hats--a distinguished evolutionary biologist, a leader of the Interspiritual Movement, an authority on the scientific career of the novelist Vladimir Nabokov, and most recently co-author of the anthology Our Moment of Choice: Evolutionary Visions and Hope for the Future. It was Kurt who introduced me to the Interspiritual Movement...
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Brian Boyd is a renowned evolutionary literary scholar (The Origin of Stories), biographer of the novelist Vladimir Nabokov (1,2,3), and 2020 recipient of the Rutherford Medal, New Zealand's highest academic honor. He is the perfect person to discuss my first novel, Atlas Hugged, and the interplay between fiction and the real world. In the second half, we also discuss Brian's biography-in-progress of t...

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David Korten is the renowned futurist, author of When Corporations Rule the World and The Great Turning among many other books, founder of YES! Magazine, and a prominent member of the Club of Rome. There is no better person with whom to discuss the world-changing theme of AH in relation to catalyzing positive change in the real world.
 
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October 12, 2020 83 mins

TVOL guest host Max Beilby talks with Andrew O'Keeffe about his work helping leaders make better sense of the human dimension of their role, so that they can work with, rather than against, human nature. Max and Andrew also discuss the coronavirus pandemic, and its potential long-term impacts on working practices. 

 

Andrew O’Keeffe is director of Hardwired Humans, a consulting firm that helps organizations design their people stra...

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What was the study of nature like before Darwin? It was an integral part of the Enlightenment and was avidly pursued by early Americans such as Thomas Jefferson and the portrait artist Charles Willson Peale, who created the most famous museum of the Revolutionary era. Lee Dugatkin is both an historical scholar of the period and an eminent evolutionary scientist. His newest book on Peale’s museum, Behind the Crimson Curtain: The Ris...

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Max Beilby and Nigel Nicholson discuss the application of evolutionary psychology to the world of business and management. They cover Nigel Nicholson’s academic career, his books Managing the Human Animal (marketed in the United States as The Executive Instinct), Family Wars, and The “I” of Leadership. They also explore the impacts of the pandemic on the world of work. Also mentioned is Nigel's Harvard Business Review article, "...

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September 11, 2020 86 mins

In the last 30 years, evolutionary theory has undergone explosive growth in studying humans as a fundamentally cultural species.

David talks with Alex Mesoudi about this field of cultural evolution and how it is bringing a full view of humanity into inquiry and building bridges across disparate fields of science.

Alex's book, "Cultural Evolution: How Darwinian Theory Can Explain Human Culture and Synthesize the Social Sciences"

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September 7, 2020 21 mins

In this bonus archive episode, David talks with evolutionary psychologist Robert Kurzban about his book, "Why Everyone (Else) Is a Hypocrite: Evolution and the Modular Mind" which shows us that the key to understanding our behavioral inconsistencies lies in understanding the mind's modular design. Modularity suggests that there is no "I." Instead, each of us is a contentious "we"—a collection of discrete but interacting systems who...

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Rita Colwell pioneered the study of microbial ecology and genetics and served as Director of the National Science Foundation during 1998-2004. Her new book A Lab of Her Own: One Woman's Personal Journey Through Sexism in Science tells two evolutionary stories. The first is the story of her career studying microbial genetic evolution, including diseases such as cholera and anthrax. The second is the story of cultural evolution ...

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During our discussion group exploring TVOL's Third Way Series, What is Positive Deviance? There's a small chance that you know all about it and a larger chance that you've never heard of it at all. That's because successful cultural change methods have a way of emerging at a particular time and place, spreading to a degree on the basis of their success, but then coming up against boundaries, beyond which they remain unknown. So it...

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Since the Third Way series is centered on entrepreneurship, even though it also applies to all forms of positive social change, it is only fitting for the capstone episode to be a conversation with Victor Hwang. Victor developed an evolutionary and ecosystem approach to entrepreneurship in his private consulting practice and served as Vice President for Entrepreneurship at the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation between 2016-2019. Few...

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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 morali...

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This interview was recorded almost 10 years ago at a workshop entitled, "Evolutionary Thinking and Its Policy Implications for Modern Capitalism". We have revived it from the TVOL archives for your enjoyment and think you will find its contents as relevant as ever.

Geoffrey is a specialist in institutional and evolutionary economics, with a background in economics, philosophy and mathematics. His research has applications to the un...

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David discusses morality from an evolutionary perspective with analytic philosopher Simon Blackburn. Along the way they cover whether functionality discredits altruism, the two sides of morality (thou shall not and thou shall), and the importance of intent for moral outrage.

This is the first episode of a two-part series on morality out of the TVOL archives. Dive deeper with our special publication asking scientists and philosophe...

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July 30, 2020 73 mins

Again and again—including some of the previous episodes—the Nordic countries are identified as exemplars of good governance and the Third Way. In this episode, we hear directly about the so-called Nordic model from Nina Witoszek, Senior Researcher at the University of Oslo’s Centre for Development and the Environment, and Atle Midttun, a professor of Norway’s largest Business School, BI. Nina and Atle have become thoroughly familia...

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What are ecosystems? Do they achieve some kind of balance in their natural state? Do they evolve in a way that can't be explained by the evolution of their component species? I take a deep dive with Tom Whitham into territory that is controversial even among the experts. 

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As part of TVOL's "Third Way" series of conversations, I explore the concept of "Development" as a type of cultural change effort with Scott Peters, Professor of Developmental Sociology at Cornell University. While many development efforts fail due to centralized planning, disruptive special interests, or having the wrong systemic goals, other development efforts have converged upon the Third Way. 

 

This episode has an accompanyin...

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