David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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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 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 and Robert Trivers, 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|
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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.
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