About Me

My work and interests are diverse: I was one of the early contributors to the growth of sociobiology, and I continue to conduct occasional field studies of animal behavior, especially the evolution and ecology of social systems among free-living animals, notably mountain-dwelling species such as marmots and pikas. At the same time, much of my attention has recently been directed to understanding the underlying evolutionary factors influencing human behavior, a discipline sometimes called “evolutionary psychology.” And finally, since the early 1980s I have been active in researching, promoting, and practicing the field of Peace Studies. I feel that these issues – animal behavior, evolutionary psychology and Peace Studies – are fundamentally linked, especially since they all involve questions of how biology affects behavior, including male-female differences, reproductive strategies, and the troubling problem of violence in living things generally. I also have a long-standing interest in philosophical matters, notably Buddhism and existentialism, and their connection to each other and to the question of “life’s meaning.”

In January, 2017, I finally “graduated” from the University of Washington, where I had been professor of psychology, after 43 years on the faculty. (We encourage our students to depart after four years, but some of us evidently take a bit longer!) So, I am now professor of psychology emeritus. My work in Peace Studies has included many invited lectures as well as writing, – with my wife, Judith Eve Lipton, MD – a guide to antinuclear activism (Stop Nuclear War! A Handbook, 1982, which was a National Book Award nominee), and an analysis of the evolutionary disconnect between human inclinations and nuclear weapons, also with Judith Lipton (The Caveman and the Bomb, 1985). This book was given to Mikhail Gorbachev; he personally had it translated into Russian and according to his senior adviser, Georgyi Arbatov, it “strongly influenced Gorbachev’s attitude toward nuclear war.” I wrote the first college-level textbook on nuclear war and nuclear weapons (The Arms Race and Nuclear War, 1986). My book, Introduction to Peace Studies (1989) was the first comprehensive text in that field as well, and has been followed by Approaches to Peace (2017) now in its 4th edition, along with Peace and Conflict Studies (co-authored with Charles Webel, and, as of 2018, also in its 4th edition).

I’ve written more than 200 published peer-reviewed technical papers and 40 books, and am a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, plus a bunch of other awards, a few of which even mean something! I have three adult daughters, of whom I’m inordinately proud as well as a growing number of grandchildren (ditto!), and live on a 10-acre horse farm in Redmond, Washington, with Judith Eve Lipton, MD, and an array of horses, dogs, cats as well as an insouciant goat.