David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Biology and Philosophy 2 (3):235-252 (1987)
The question whether ethical behavior is biologically determined may refer either to thecapacity for ethics (e.i., the proclivity to judge human actions as either right or wrong), or to the moralnorms accepted by human beings for guiding their actions. My theses are: (1) that the capacity for ethics is a necessary attribute of human nature; and (2) that moral norms are products of cultural evolution, not of biological evolution.Humans exhibits ethical behavior by nature because their biological makeup determines the presence of the three necessary, and jointly sufficient, conditions for ethical behavior: (i) the ability to anticipate the consequences of one's own actions; (ii) the ability to make value judgements; and (iii) the ability to choose between alternative courses of action. Ethical behavior came about in evolution not because it is adaptive in itself, but as a necessary consequece of man's eminent intellectual abilities, which are an attribute directly promoted by natural selection.
|Keywords||Sociobiology evolutionary ethics ethical behavior norms of morality animal ethics|
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References found in this work BETA
Theodosius Dobzhansky (1973). Ethics and Values in Biological and Cultural Evolution. Zygon 8 (3-4):261-281.
David Hume (1739/2000). A Treatise of Human Nature. Oxford University Press.
Michael Ruse (1986). Evolutionary Ethics: A Phoenix Arisen. Zygon 21 (1):95-112.
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Citations of this work BETA
Michael T. Ghiselin (1988). The Individuality Thesis, Essences, and Laws of Nature. Biology and Philosophy 3 (4):467-474.
Teresa Kwiatkowska (2001). Beyond Uncertainties: Some Open Questions About Chaos and Ethics. Ethics and the Environment 6 (1):96-115.
Franz M. Wuketits (1988). Darwinism: Still a Challenge to Philosophy. Zygon 23 (4):455-467.
Paul Thompson (1989). Philosophy of Biology Under Attack: Stent Vs. Rosenberg. [REVIEW] Biology and Philosophy 4 (3):345-351.
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