Darwin on the evolution of morality
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Darwin argued for the biological basis of morality in his Descent of Man (1871). Beginning with the thesis of the continuity of man and animals, he tried to explain the origin of the moral sense, or conscience, as understood as an ability to discern right and wrong, and to feel guilty if one realizes to have done wrong. His argument is that, in any animal with social instincts and sufficient intellectual powers, a moral sense would be developed. Although Darwin's argument had some missing links, I try to show that his argument can be consistently reconstructed, in view of the recent development of evolutionary biology and behavioral ecology. As I understand, Darwin's basic tenet is reductionism via evolutionary processes (natural selection, in particular): morality can be reduced to a combination of non-moral factors, each of which can be shared with other animals; you do not have to assume that morality is sui generis.
|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
Robert A. Skipper (2004). Perspectives on the Animal Mind. Biology and Philosophy 19 (4):483-487.
Massimo Pigliucci (2007). Primates, Philosophers and the Biological Basis of Morality: A Review of Primates and Philosophers by Frans de Waal, Princeton University Press, 2006, 200 Pp. [REVIEW] Biology and Philosophy 22 (4):611-618.
J. Wentzel van Huyssteen (2010). When Were We Persons? Why Hominid Evolution Holds the Key to Embodied Personhood. Neue Zeitschrift Für Systematische Theologie Und Religionsphilosophie 52 (4):329-349.
John Beatty (2006). Chance Variation: Darwin on Orchids. Philosophy of Science 73 (5):629-641.
Hallvard Lillehammer (2010). Methods of Ethics and the Descent of Man: Darwin and Sidgwick on Ethics and Evolution. Biology and Philosophy 25 (3):361-378.
Peter J. Richerson & Richard Boyd (2004). Darwinian Evolutionary Ethics: Between Patriotism and Sympathy. In Phillip Clayton & Jeffrey Schloss (eds.), Evolution and Ethics: Human Morality in Biological and Religious Perspective. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.. 50--77.
Robert T. Pennock (1995). Moral Darwinism: Ethical Evidence for the Descent of Man. [REVIEW] Biology and Philosophy 10 (3):287-307.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads45 ( #41,529 of 1,140,121 )
Recent downloads (6 months)0
How can I increase my downloads?