CORVALLIS, Ore. – “The Friendly Germ Meets the Selfish Gene: Towards a Less Hostile View of Nature” is the subject of the fifth lecture in Oregon State University’s 2006-07 Horning Endowment in the Humanities lecture series, “The Cultural Politics of Evolution.”
John Dupré’s lecture begins at 4 p.m. Thursday, April 5, in OSU’s Memorial Union Journey Room. Dupré is a professor of philosophy at the University of Exeter and director of its Centre for Genomics in Society.
His talk will explore the contrast between cooperative and competitive aspects of biology. While Darwin is celebrated for the concept of natural selection, Dupré says that Darwin was equally struck by the cooperative aspects of living systems.
Dupré proposes the image of the friendly germ, an idea derived from the realization that microbes, or germs, are almost always found in highly integrated and cooperative – and usually multispecies – communities.
Dupré has held posts at Oxford, Stanford and Birkbeck College in London. In 2006 he held the Spinoza Visiting Professorship at the University of Amsterdam. His publications include: “The Disorder of Things” (Harvard, 1993); “Human Nature and the Limits of Science” (Oxford, 2001); “Humans and Other Animals” (Oxford, 2002): and “Darwin’s Legacy: What Evolution Means Today” (Oxford, 2003).
This lecture series is sponsored by the Thomas Hart and Mary Jones Horning Endowment of the Humanities. It brings distinguished scholars and teachers in the sciences and the humanities to OSU.