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Varieties of Love: Interpreting Human Sexualities using Bioepistemic Evolution

On that most 'romantic' of days, is it possible to put love and romance under scientific scrutiny? Can our sexual behaviours and intimate desires be explained using a novel interpretation of evolutionary theory?

Human sexuality finds a variety of expressions, some of which are hard to understand from a conventional - i.e. gene-centred, evolutionary perspective. Bioepistemic evolution is not gene-centred but data-centred and views all evolution as being a data process; it regards genes as simply formatting some of the data in DNA. This talk will very briefly summarize the bioepistemic approach to evolution and its interpretation of the general pattern of human sexualities.

Viewed from this perspective human nature appears as the product of a multilevel selection involving two large, inherited data pools, genes and culture. That is, human evolution is primarily gene-cultural and, it will be argued, culture can be viewed as the phenotypic target for human sexual selection. Human sexuality may therefore be seen not just in terms of biological reproduction, but also in terms of social pair and social group formation and in terms of the maintenance and reproduction of the social groups necessary to sustain culture.

It will be suggested that the bioepistemic approach can offer a broader and more integrated understanding of the evolutionary origin of the various human sexualities than can more conventional approaches.

John Hewitt is a former teacher and has worked as a research scientist in Molecular Biology, and lectured in Biochemistry at the University of Cambridge.


Mr John Hewitt | talks


Date and Time:

14 February 2010 at 11:00 am


2 hours



Conway Hall
Conway Hall
25 Red Lion Square
0207 242 8034

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