Evolutionary anthropology and the non-cognitive foundation of moral validity

Biology and Philosophy 8 (2):133-151 (1993)
Abstract
This paper makes an attempt at the conceptual foundation of descriptive ethical theories in terms of evolutionary anthropology. It suggests, first, that what human social actors tend to accept to be morally valid and legitimate ultimately rests upon empirical authority relations and, second, that this acceptance follows an evolved pattern of hierarchical behaviour control in the social animal species. The analysis starts with a brief review of Thomas Hobbes'' moral philosophy, with special emphasis on Hobbes'' authoritarian view of moral validity and of the common political origins and ultimate basis of legitimacy of moral and legal systems. Hobbes'' philosophical conceptions are then put into the context of Max Weber''s influential empirical theory of legitimacy, especially charismatic revelation and authority as the ultimate source of all moral, legal and religious obligations. Weber''s concept of charismatic authority is given a biobehavioural interpretation in terms of ritualised status signals indicating an individual''s superior physical and emotional dispositions to control the social actions of others. Various conclusions are drawn concerning the concept of moral validity and its possible evolutionary interpretations.
Keywords Ethical non-cognitivism  metaethics  ritualisation  dominance behaviour  charismatic authority
Categories (categorize this paper)
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
 
Download options
PhilPapers Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 11,392
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
Gebhard Geiger (1995). Why Are There No Objective Values? Journal for General Philosophy of Science 26 (1):35-62.

View all 14 references

Citations of this work BETA
Similar books and articles
Analytics

Monthly downloads

Added to index

2009-01-28

Total downloads

2 ( #354,724 of 1,102,917 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

0

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.