What rationality adds to animal morality

Biology and Philosophy 12 (3):341-356 (1997)
Philosophical tradition demands rational reflection as a condition for genuine moral acts. But the grounds for that requirement are untenable, and when the requirement is dropped morality comes into clearer view as a naturally developing phenomenon that is not confined to human beings and does not require higher-level rational reflective processes. Rational consideration of rules and duties can enhance and extend moral behavior, but rationality is not necessary for morality and (contrary to the Kantian tradition represented by Thomas Nagel) morality cannot transcend its biological roots. Recognizing this helps forge a complementary rather than competitive relation between feminist care-based ethics and rationalistic duty-based ethics.
Keywords care ethics  evolutionary ethics  sociobiology
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DOI 10.1023/A:1006559328418
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