March 13, 2019

David Sloan Wilson

Harvard Book Store welcomes eminent evolutionary biologist DAVID SLOAN WILSON—author of Evolution for Everyone—for a discussion of his latest book, This View of Life: Completing the Darwinian Revolution


Charles Darwin's vision of evolution was so broad that he wrote, "There is grandeur in this view of life" in the concluding paragraph of On the Origin of Species. By the 1970s, the Darwinian revolution was sufficiently complete that the geneticist Theodosius Dobzhansky wrote, "Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution." Yet, according to David Sloan Wilson, the Darwinian revolution won't be truly complete until it makes sense of everything associated with the words "human," "culture," and "policy."

In a series of engaging stories—from the breeding of hens, to the timing of cataract surgeries, to the organization of an automobile plant—Wilson shows how an evolutionary worldview provides a practical toolkit for understanding not only genetic evolution, but also the fast-paced changes impacting our world and ourselves. What emerges is an incredibly empowering argument: if we can become wise managers of evolutionary processes, we can solve the problems of our age at all scales—from the efficacy of our groups, to our wellbeing as individuals, to our stewardship of the planet earth.

About Author(s)

David Sloan Wilson is SUNY Distinguished Professor of Biology and Anthropology at Binghamton University. He is widely known for his fundamental contributions to evolutionary science and for explaining evolution to the general public. He is the author of Darwin’s Cathedral: Evolution, Religion, and the Nature of Society; coauthor of Unto Others: The Evolution and Psychology of Unselfish Behavior; and co-editor of The Literary Animal: Evolution and the Nature of Narrative.