The Biology of Moral Systems

Aldine de Gruyter (1987)
Abstract
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 organiation 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 analye 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.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
Buy the book $6.50 used (82% off)   $20.00 new (45% off)   $34.15 direct from Amazon (6% off)    Amazon page
ISBN(s) 0202011747   9780202011745
Options
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index Translate to english
 
Download options
PhilPapers Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 12,068
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Citations of this work BETA

View all 154 citations

Similar books and articles
Frans B. M. de Waal (2004). Monkey Business and Business Ethics. The Ruffin Series of the Society for Business Ethics 2004:7-41.
Dennis Krebs (2008). Morality: An Evolutionary Account. Perspectives on Psychological Science 3 (3):149-172.
Tim Dean (2012). Evolution and Moral Diversity. The Baltic International Yearbook of Cognition, Logic and Communication 7 (1):1-16.
Analytics

Monthly downloads

Added to index

2012-04-03

Total downloads

2 ( #366,304 of 1,101,860 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

1 ( #306,556 of 1,101,860 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature


Discussion
Start a new thread
Order:
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.