David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Thus declares Francis Hutcheson, expressing a view widespread during the Enlightenment, and throughout the history of philosophy. According to this tradition, we are by nature moral, and ourS concern for good and evil is as natural to us as our capacity to feel pleasure and pain. The link between morality and human nature has been a common theme since ancient times, and, with the rise of modern empirical moral psychology, it remains equally popular today. Evolutionary ethicists, ethologists, developmental psychologists, social neuroscientists, and even some cultural anthropologists tend to agree that morality is part of the bioprogram (e.g., Cosmides & Tooby, 1992; de Waal, 1996; Haidt & Joseph, 2004; Hauser, 2006; Ruse, 1991; Sober & Wilson, 1998; Turiel, 2002). Recently, researchers have begun to look for moral modules in the brain, and they have been increasingly tempted to speculate about the moral acquisition device, and innate faculty for norm acquisition akin to celebrated language acquisition device, promulgated by Chomsky (Dwyer, 1999; Mikhail, 2000; Hauser, this volume). All this talk of modules and mechanism may make some shudder, especially if they recall that eugenics emerged out of an effort to find the biological sources of evil. Yet the tendency to postulate an innate moral faculty is almost irresistible. For one thing, it makes us appear nobler as a species, and for another, it offers an explanation of the fact that people in every corner of the globe seem to have moral rules. Moral nativism is, in this respect, an optimistic doctrine—one that makes our great big world seem comfortingly smaller. I want to combat this alluring idea. I do not deny that morality is ecumenical, but I think it is not innate—at least that the current state of evidence is unpersuasive. Morality, like all human capacities, depends on having particular biological predispositions, but none of these, I submit, deserves to be called a moral faculty. Morality is a byproduct—accidental or invented—of faculties that evolved for other purposes..
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
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
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
Shaun Nichols (2005). Innateness and Moral Psychology. In Peter Carruthers, Stephen Laurence & Stephen Stich (eds.), The Innate Mind: Structure and Contents. New York: Oxford University Press New York. 353--369.
Paul R. Lawrence (2004). The Biological Base of Morality? The Ruffin Series of the Society for Business Ethics 2004:59-79.
Bongrae Seok (2008). Mencius's Vertical Faculties and Moral Nativism. Asian Philosophy 18 (1):51 – 68.
Paul Bloom (2006). The Chomsky of Morality? [REVIEW] Nature 443 (26):909-10.
Kathryn Paxton George (1992). Moral and Nonmoral Innate Constraints. Biology and Philosophy 7 (2):189-202.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads133 ( #6,504 of 1,101,764 )
Recent downloads (6 months)7 ( #35,087 of 1,101,764 )
How can I increase my downloads?