Hamilton's rule: a non-causal explanation?


The explanatory power of Hamilton’s rule, the main explanatory principle of social evolution theory, is an ongoing subject of controversy. In this paper, we reinforce the case for the considerable value of the regression-based version of the rule in explaining the evolution of social traits. Although we agree that the rule can have an organizing role in social evolution research (Birch 2017), we maintain that it does not explain in virtue of citing causes or providing an organizing framework. Instead, we argue it either provides an explanation by constraint or a non-causal counterfactual explanation.

Philippe Verreault-Julien
Philippe Verreault-Julien
Postdoctoral Researcher

I work on the epistemology of modelling, understanding, and explanation.