Telluride Association Winter Program:
The Many Facets of Altruism

January 19-21, 2011

Professor Joel Velasco

This series of seminars at the Telluride House at Cornell will discuss different understandings of altruism, how they are related, and in what sense and to what extent humans are or should be altruistic. We will start day 1 by distinguishing psychological, behavioral, and biological altruism, and then discuss in turn the ethics and psychology of altruism and selfishness. In day 2 we will look at biological altruism and in particular, The evolution of altruistic behavior and to what extent, if any, group selection plays a role in evolution. Finally on day 3 we will look at some game theory and experimental economics results which seem to indicate that humans are in fact quite altruistic (and spiteful).

This is a tentative schedule/reading list:

Day 1 (1/19) - What is Altruism?

Day 2 (1/20) - Biological Altruism and Group Selection

Day 3 (1/21) - Game Theory and Experimental Economics