Group Selection and our Obsession with the Meaning of Life

The Monist 93 (1):76-95 (2010)
The aim of this paper is to make an unlikely connection between the old question about the meaning of life and some important concepts in philosophy of biology. More precisely, I argue that while biology is unlikely to help us to figure out the meaning of life, the fact that this question has been considered to be such a crucial one could be explained with the help of some consideration of our evolutionary past. I argue that if there is evidence for group selection in the course of human evolution, this may explain not the meaning of life but rather the reason why we are preoccupied with this question. First, I examine what group selection is and what role it played in human evolution. After surveying the evidence for the claim that in the course of human evolution we lived in isolated group societies, I analyse what influence this social structure had on our present psychological dispositions, including our quest for the meaning of life.
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