Why there are no objective values: A critique of ethical intuitionism from an evolutionary point of view
Biology and Philosophy 7 (3):315-330 (1992)
|Abstract||Using concepts of evolutionary game theory, this paper presents a critique of ethical intuitionism, or non-naturalism, in its cognitivist and objectivist interpretation. While epistemological considerations suggest that human rational learning through experience provides no basis for objective moral knowledge, it is argued below that modern evolutionary theory explains why this is so, i.e., why biological organisms do not evolve so as to experience objective preferences and obligations. The difference between the modes of the cognition of objective and of valuative environmental attributes is explained with reference to different modes of natural selection acting on the cognitive apparatus of the organism. The negative implications are pointed out which the observable diversity of intraspecific behavioural adaptations and of cultural values has for the cognitivist, objectivist foundation of ethics. Eventually a non-cognitivist alternative to ethical intuitionism is outlined in terms of empirical authority relations, with the ritualisation of dominance-submission patterns as the evolutionary origin of human charismatic authority.|
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