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The Evolution Of Morality

Author : Richard Joyce
ISBN : 0262263254
Genre : Philosophy
File Size : 71.10 MB
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Moral thinking pervades our practical lives, but where did this way of thinking come from, and what purpose does it serve? Is it to be explained by environmental pressures on our ancestors a million years ago, or is it a cultural invention of more recent origin? In The Evolution of Morality, Richard Joyce takes up these controversial questions, finding that the evidence supports an innate basis to human morality. As a moral philosopher, Joyce is interested in whether any implications follow from this hypothesis. Might the fact that the human brain has been biologically prepared by natural selection to engage in moral judgment serve in some sense to vindicate this way of thinking—staving off the threat of moral skepticism, or even undergirding some version of moral realism? Or if morality has an adaptive explanation in genetic terms—if it is, as Joyce writes, "just something that helped our ancestors make more babies"—might such an explanation actually undermine morality's central role in our lives? He carefully examines both the evolutionary "vindication of morality" and the evolutionary "debunking of morality," considering the skeptical view more seriously than have others who have treated the subject. Interdisciplinary and combining the latest results from the empirical sciences with philosophical discussion, The Evolution of Morality is one of the few books in this area written from the perspective of moral philosophy. Concise and without technical jargon, the arguments are rigorous but accessible to readers from different academic backgrounds. Joyce discusses complex issues in plain language while advocating subtle and sometimes radical views. The Evolution of Morality lays the philosophical foundations for further research into the biological understanding of human morality.
Category: Philosophy

The Evolution Of Morality And Religion

Author : Donald M. Broom
ISBN : 0521529247
Genre : Philosophy
File Size : 59.29 MB
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Accepted codes of conduct and established religions are features of human societies throughout the world. Why should this be? In this 2003 book, biologist Donald Broom argues that these aspects of human culture have evolved as a consequence of natural selection; that morally acceptable behaviour benefits the humans and other animals and that a principal function of religion is to underpin and encourage such behaviour. The author provides biological insights drawn especially from work on animal behaviour and presents ideas and information from the fields of philosophy and theology to produce a thought-provoking, interdisciplinary treatment. Scientists who read this book will gain an appreciation of the wider literature on morality and religion, and non-scientists will benefit from the author's extensive knowledge of the biological mechanisms underlying the behaviour of humans and other social animals.
Category: Philosophy

The Evolution Of Moral Progress

Author : Allen Buchanan
ISBN : 9780190868413
Genre : Philosophy
File Size : 62.70 MB
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In The Evolution of Moral Progress, Allen Buchanan and Russell Powell resurrect the project of explaining moral progress. They avoid the errors of earlier attempts by drawing on a wide range of disciplines including moral and political philosophy, evolutionary biology, evolutionary psychology, anthropology, history, and sociology. Their focus is on one especially important type of moral progress: gains in inclusivity. They develop a framework to explain progress in inclusivity to also illuminate moral regression--the return to exclusivist and "tribalistic" moral beliefs and attitudes. Buchanan and Powell argue those tribalistic moral responses are not hard-wired by evolution in human nature. Rather, human beings have an evolved "adaptively plastic" capacity for both inclusion and exclusion, depending on environmental conditions. Moral progress in the dimension of inclusivity is possible, but only to the extent that human beings can create environments conducive to extending moral standing to all human beings and even to some animals. Buchanan and Powell take biological evolution seriously, but with a critical eye, while simultaneously recognizing the crucial role of culture in creating environments in which moral progress can occur. The book avoids both biological and cultural determinism. Unlike earlier theories of moral progress, their theory provides a naturalistic account that is grounded in the best empirical work, and unlike earlier theories it does not present moral progress as inevitable or as occurring in definite stages; but rather it recognizes the highly contingent and fragile character of moral improvement.
Category: Philosophy

The Evolution Of Morality

Author : Charles Staniland Wake
ISBN : HARVARD:32044043450469
Genre : Ethics
File Size : 34.51 MB
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Category: Ethics

The Origins Of Morality

Author : Dennis Krebs
ISBN : 9780199778232
Genre : Psychology
File Size : 85.60 MB
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Why do people behave altruistically in some circumstances, but not in others? In order to account fully for morality, Dennis Krebs departs from the dominant contemporary psychological approach to morality, which suggests that children acquire morals through socialization and cultural indoctrination. Rather, social learning and cognitive-developmental accounts of morality can be subsumed and refined in an evolutionary framework. Relying on evolutionary theory, Krebs explains how notions of morality originated in the first place. He updates Darwin's early ideas about how dispositions to obey authority, to control antisocial urges, and to behave in altruistic and cooperative ways originated and evolved, then goes on to update Darwin's account of how humans acquired a moral sense.
Category: Psychology

What Makes Us Moral

Author : Neil Levy
ISBN : STANFORD:36105112990291
Genre : Philosophy
File Size : 39.1 MB
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If our history is defined by evolution, and our future shaped by our genes, is our reasoning driven only by biology or are we still free to make moral choices? Yes we are, says philosopher and ethicist Neil Levy in his new study. For although genetics and the DNA revolution may have uncovered our building blocks, and evolutionary psychology our ancient instincts, only philosophy and culture can give use the tools we need to make informed ethical decisions.
Category: Philosophy

Evolutionary Origins Of Morality

Author : Leonard D. Katz
ISBN : 090784507X
Genre : Philosophy
File Size : 50.3 MB
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Four principal papers and a total of 43 peer commentaries on the evolutionary origins of morality. To what extent is human morality the outcome of a continuous development from motives, emotions and social behaviour found in nonhuman animals? Jerome Kagan, Hans Kummer, Peter Railton and others discuss the first principal paper by primatologists Jessica Flack and Frans de Waal. The second paper, by cultural anthropologist Christopher Boehm, synthesizes social science and biological evidence to support his theory of how our hominid ancestors became moral. In the third paper philosopher Elliott Sober and evolutionary biologist David Sloan Wilson argue that an evolutionary understanding of human nature allows sacrifice for others and ultimate desires for another's good. Finally Brian Skyrms argues that game theory based on adaptive dynamics must join the social scientist's use of rational choice and classical game theory to explain cooperation.
Category: Philosophy

The Evolution Of Morality

Author : Eric William Berling
ISBN : 1392148308
Genre : Electronic dissertations
File Size : 36.84 MB
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Evolutionary insights have radically improved our ability to understand (explain) the natural world around us, including how we understand ourselves and our relationship to the rest of the natural world. For the past century and half, evolutionary arguments have been advanced that have looked to explain human morality as a feature of our biological origins, as a capacity or propensity endowed to us by our evolutionary history. Recent research programs within psychology, ethology, and game theory have purported to explain morality. The prolific efforts of these researchers, concentrated especially over the past two decades, has resulted in an impressive literature about the evolution of morality. It is unclear how, if at all, these research programs fit together into a coherent explanation of morality, though there is a tendency in the literature to presume such a moral synthesis that could connect these research endeavors in a meaningful way. This is the central task I seek to accomplish. First, I look for a reportive account of morality-as-explanandum, to see if there is reason to think that the explanations being proposed by these different research programs are ostensibly aiming to explain the same phenomenon. I find sufficient overlap in how the evolutionary approaches conceive of morality, namely that it is a phenomenon that includes social interactions involving behaviors often relevant to helping and hurting others, and the perception and response to these interactions involves the stimulation of an affective moral sense that is combined with rational cognitive processing and consideration of cultural elements such as values, norms, or expectations of approval or disapproval during moral judgment. While the research programs of evolutionary psychology, ethology, and evolutionary game theory are attempting to explain the same phenomenon when they talk about morality, work remains to demonstrate how the different methodological kinds of explanations could fit together. For those who adopt a unity of science view, there is a tendency to prefer explanatory reductionism or explanatory eliminativism that identifies a preferred mode of explanation and removes others. Rejecting such a tendency, I endorse a pluralistic approach that allows for multiple modes of explanation to contribute to our understanding of the same phenomenon. I detail the kinds of explanation that each of the three evolutionary approaches offers, and then argue that Pennock's CaSE pragmatic model of causation could be used to demonstrate that, in principle, the explanations of each approach can be integrated. Pluralistically weaving the explanations of each approach together yields a more robust and complete account of the causal web that has produced our biological capacities for morality. Furthermore, beyond just giving a more complete account of the causal web, integrating the approaches also helps to insulate the explanatory claims of each from some its more pressing objections. For instance, while evolutionary psychology is susceptible to critiques of adaptationism, by demonstrating that the behavioral building blocks of the proposed innate psychological intuition can be found in our phylogenetic neighbors gives reason to think that the trait has an adaptive function and has been preserved by selective pressures. Similarly, game theoretic approaches can demonstrate via models that the behavioral tendency is, in fact, adaptive and causally advantageous to reproductive success.
Category: Electronic dissertations

The Biology Of Moral Systems

Author : Richard D. Alexander
ISBN : 020236948X
Genre : Philosophy
File Size : 24.42 MB
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Despite wide acceptance that the attributes of living creatures have appeared through a cumulative evolutionary process guided chiefly by natural selection, many human activities have seemed analytically inaccessible through such an approach. Prominent evolutionary biologists, for example, have described morality as contrary to the direction of biological evolution, and moral philosophers rarely regard evolution as relevant to their discussions. The Biology of Moral Systems adopts the position that moral questions arise out of conflicts of interest, and that moral systems are ways of using confluences of interest at lower levels of social organization to deal with conflicts of interest at higher levels. Moral systems are described as systems of indirect reciprocity: humans gain and lose socially and reproductively not only by direct transactions, but also by the reputations they gain from the everyday flow of social interactions. The author develops a general theory of human interests, using senescence and effort theory from biology, to help analyze the patterning of human lifetimes. He argues that the ultimate interests of humans are reproductive, and that the concept of morality has arisen within groups because of its contribution to unity in the context, ultimately, of success in intergroup competition. He contends that morality is not easily relatable to universals, and he carries this argument into a discussion of what he calls the greatest of all moral problems, the nuclear arms race. "Crammed with sage observations on moral dilemmas and many reasons why an understanding of evolution based on natural selection will advance thinking in finding practical solutions to our most difficult social problems." Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social SciencesRichard D. Alexander is Donald Ward Tinkle Professor of Evolutionary Biology, Department of Biology, and Curator of Insects, Museum of Zoology, University of Michigan. A recipient of numerous awards, Dr. Alexander is the author of Darwinism and Human Affairs.
Category: Philosophy

A Natural History Of Human Morality

Author : Michael Tomasello
ISBN : 9780674915879
Genre : Psychology
File Size : 31.78 MB
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Michael Tomasello offers the most detailed account to date of the evolution of human moral psychology. Based on experimental data comparing great apes and human children, he reconstructs two key evolutionary steps whereby early humans gradually became an ultra-cooperative and, eventually, a moral species capable of acting as a plural agent “we”.
Category: Psychology