The eight pieces constituting this Meeting Report are summaries of presentations made during a panel session at the 2011 Association for Practical and Professional Ethics (APPE) annual meeting held between March 3rd and 6th in Cincinnati. Lisa Newton organized the session and served as chair. The panel of eight consisted both of pioneers in the field and more recent arrivals. It covered a range of topics from how the field has developed to where it should be going, from identification of (...) issues needing further study to problems of training the next generation of engineers and engineering-ethics scholars. (shrink)
Gintis's article is an example of growing awareness by social scientists of the significance of evolutionary theory for understanding human nature. Although we share its main point of view, we comment on some disagreements related to levels of behavioral analysis, the explanation of social cooperation, and the ubiquity of inter-individual differences in human decision-making. (Published Online April 27 2007).
A central thesis of this paper is that understanding the nature of child maltreatment is so complex that no one disciplinary specialty is likely to be sufficient for the task. Although life history theory is the guiding principle for our analysis, we argue that an evolutionary explanation adds precision by incorporating empirical findings originating from the fields of anthropology; clinical, developmental, and social psychology; and sociology. Although evolutionary accounts of child maltreatment have been largely limited to the role of the (...) coefficient of relatedness, the prospective reproductive value of a child, and the residual reproductive potential of parents, a case is made for expanding this basic application. An explanatory model is presented that describes how ecological conditions as well as parental and child traits interact to influence the degree of parental investment. As shown in the model, these various “marker variables” alter parental perceptions of the benefits and costs associated with child care and promote low-investment parenting, which leads to disrupted family management practices and to a downward-spiraling, self-perpetuating system of coercive family interaction, increased parental rejection of the child, and even lower parental investment. Child maltreatment is the ultimate outcome of this downward trajectory of family relations. (shrink)
Increasing numbers of young mothers in the work force, more and more children requiring extrafamilial care, high rates of divorce, lower rates of remarriage, increasing numbers of female-headed households, growing numbers of zero-parent families, and significant occurrences of child maltreatment are just some of the social indicators indicative of the family in a changing world. These trends and their consequences for children are described and then examined from the perspectives of microeconomic theory, the relative-income hypothesis, sex-ratio theory, and one form (...) of modernization theory. The paper concludes with a preliminary examination of the added explanatory power provided by evolutionary theory. (shrink)