Altruism as an Aspect of Relational Consciousness and How Culture Inhibits It

  • David Hay
Part of the Developments in Primatology: Progress and Prospects book series (DIPR, volume 36)


The concept of relational consciousness emerged during an investigation of the plausibility of the hypothesis that Darwinian natural selection underlies the cultural phenomenon of religion. This conjecture originated with Sir Alister Hardy FRS, who was the Head of the Zoology Department in Oxford University between 1946 and 1961 and founder in 1969 of the Religious Experience Research Unit, originally based in Manchester College Oxford. Hardy’s initiative is not well known in the United States, so I will begin with some background information as a preliminary to clarifying my own hypothesis about the connection of relational consciousness with altruism.


Religious Belief Church Attendance Religious Experience Spiritual Experience Mystical Experience 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Divinity and Religious Studies, School of Divinity, History and Philosophy, King’s CollegeUniversity of AberdeenAberdeenUK

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