David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Zygon 42 (3):685-700 (2007)
Is morality biologically altruistic? Does it imply a disadvantage in the struggle for existence? A positive answer puts morality at odds with natural selection, unless natural selection operates at the level of groups. In this case, a trait that is good for groups though bad (reproductively) for individuals can evolve. Sociobiologists reject group selection and have adopted one of two horns of a dilemma. Either morality is based on an egoistic calculus, compatible with natural selection; or morality continues tied to psychological and biological altruism but not as a product of natural selection. The dilemma denies a third possibility—that psychological altruism evolves as a biologically selfish trait. I discuss the classical treatments of the paradox by Charles Darwin ( 1989) and Robert Trivers (1971), focusing on the role they attribute to social emotions. The upshot is that both Darwin and Trivers sketch a natural-selection process relying on innate emotional mechanisms that render morality adaptive for individuals as well as for groups. I give additional reasons for viewing it as a form of natural, instead of only cultural, selection.
|Keywords||Altruism Group selection Morality|
|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
Thomas Hobbes (2012/2006). Leviathan. Clarendon Press.
Elliott Sober & David Sloan Wilson (1998). Unto Others: The Evolution and Psychology of Unselfish Behavior. Harvard University Press.
Elliott Sober (2000). Philosophy of Biology. Westview Press.
Robert Richards (1989). Darwin and the Emergence of Evolutionary Theories of Mind and Behavior. Journal of the History of Biology 22 (2):361-367.
Citations of this work BETA
Jonathan Goodman (2014). Altruism and the Golden Rule. Zygon 49 (2):381-395.
Similar books and articles
Michael Byron, Evolutionary Ethics and Biologically Supportable Morality. Proceedings of Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy, PAIDEIA: Philosophy Educating Humanity.
Colin McGinn (1979). Evolution, Animals, and the Basis of Morality. Inquiry 22 (1-4):81 – 99.
Samir Okasha (2005). Altruism, Group Selection and Correlated Interaction. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 56 (4):703-725.
Elliott Sober & David Sloan Wilson (2000). Morality and ‘Unto Others': Response to Commentary Discussion. Journal of Consciousness Studies 7 (1-2):257-268.
Nicholas S. Thompson (2000). Shifting the Natural Selection Metaphor to the Group Level. Behavior and Philosophy 28 (1/2):83 - 101.
Alejandro Rosas (2008). Multilevel Selection and Human Altruism. Biology and Philosophy 23 (2):205-215.
Samir Okasha (2001). Why Won't the Group Selection Controversy Go Away? British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 52 (1):25-50.
Karl E. Peters (2003). Pluralism and Ambivalence in the Evolution of Morality. Zygon 38 (2):333-354.
Grant Ramsey & Robert Brandon (2011). Why Reciprocal Altruism is Not a Kind of Group Selection. Biology and Philosophy 26 (3):385-400.
Alejandro Rosas (2009). Levels of Selection in Synergy. Teorema: International Journal of Philosophy 28 (2):135-150.
Ferdinand Fellmann (2013). Emotional Selection and Human Personality. Biological Theory 8 (1):64-73.
Added to index2010-09-14
Total downloads25 ( #118,814 of 1,724,892 )
Recent downloads (6 months)2 ( #268,597 of 1,724,892 )
How can I increase my downloads?