About this topic
Summary This category includes work on two main questions: (1) Can morality be given an evolutionary explanation? (2) What implications for moral philosophy would such an explanation have? Work addressing (1) must clearly specify the explanatory target. An important challenge here is to distinguish morality from related notions: altruism (biological and psychological), cooperation, prosocial emotions, and the capacity to follow norms more generally. Such work must also specify the relevant evolutionary mechanism(s). Options include kin selection, reciprocity, cultural group selection, sexual selection, costly signaling, and evolutionary constraint or accident. A useful broad distinction here is between adaptationist accounts, on which morality was selected for, and non-adaptationist accounts, on which morality is a by-product of some other trait(s). Work addressing (2) can be divided into that which considers implications for normative ethics, and for metaethics. The former is widely claimed to fall foul of the is/ought gap and the naturalistic fallacy, but the latter is immune to such charges (whatever they ultimately amount to). Work of the latter sort can be roughly but usefully divided into vindicating and debunking accounts. On the former, an evolutionary explanation for morality is at least compatible with - and may even positively support - the existence of moral facts and our possession of moral knowledge. On the latter, such an explanation somehow undermines morality, by giving reason to doubt the existence of moral facts, or our reliability as moral judgment makers, or both.
Key works Ruse & Wilson 1986 made an early, flawed but still instructive attempt to link evolutionary biology with moral philosophy. More recently, Kitcher 2006 and Joyce 2005 have offered adaptationist accounts of the evolution of morality; see Prinz 2008 for a non-adaptationist account. Kahane 2010 provides a useful framework for considering the metaethical implications of an evolutionary explanation for morality. Joyce 2005 and Street 2006 are two prominent evolutionary debunkers of morality. For a vindicating account, see Copp 2008.
Introductions Encyclopedia entries include Fitzpatrick 2008 and Schroeder 2001. For article-length overviews of the empirical and metaethical issues, see Allchin 2009 and Levy 2010, respectively. For a book-length treatment, see James 2010.
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  1. Ethics and Mathematics: The Reliability Challenge. Clarke-Doane - manuscript
    It is sometimes alleged that “the reliability challenge” to moral realism is equally compelling against mathematical realism. This allegation is of interest. The reliability challenge to moral realism is increasingly taken to be the most serious challenge to moral realism. However, the specific considerations that are said to motivate it – such as considerations of rational dubitability and evolutionary influence – are widely held not to motivate an analogous challenge to mathematical realism. If it turned out that, in fact, they (...)
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  2. A match not made in heaven.Richard Davis - manuscript
    Can a Darwinian be a Christian? "Absolutely," says Michael Ruse. Ruse is perhaps best known for his participation in the infamous Arkansas "Scopes II" trial in 1981, where he provided expert testimony on behalf of the ACLU in their attempt to strike down a law requiring balanced treatment of creation and evolution in public schools. (The ACLU won their case.) For many years professor of philosophy at Guelph University, Ruse now holds the Lucyle T. Werkmeist chair in philosophy at Florida (...)
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  3. Evolution, Society, and Ethics: Social Darwinism versus Evolutionary Ethics.Christine Clavien - forthcoming - In Thomas Heams (ed.), Handbook of Evolutionary Biology (provis. Title). Springer.
    Evolutionary ethics (EE) is a branch of philosophy that arouses both fascination and deep suspicion. It claims that Darwinian mechanisms and evolutionary data on animal sociality are relevant to ethical reflection. This field of study is often misunderstood and rarely fails to conjure up images of Social Darwinism as a vector for nasty ideologies and policies. However, it is worth resisting the temptation to reduce EE to Social Darwinism and developing an objective analysis of whether it is appropriate to adopt (...)
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  4. Explaining Social Normativity: Introduction to The Discussion Forum on Cecilia Heyes’ “Rethinking Norm Psychology”.Daniel Kelly - forthcoming - Perspectives on Psychological Science:1-12.
    This essay is an introduction to a special issue centered on Cecilia Heyes’ article ‘Rethinking Norm Psychology’. This target article criticizes nativist accounts of the psychological processes dedicated to social norms and offers an alternative account of norm psychology as a cognitive gadget that is culturally evolved and socially learned. The essay sketches out the conceptual landscape around that article and locates within it some of the main points of the 14 short commentaries. These discussions focus especially on trying to (...)
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  5. Evolutionary Ethics: Understanding its Transition.Ikbal Hussain Ahmed - 2024 - Journal of the Indian Council of Philosophical Research 41 (1):63-82.
    This paper offers a descriptive account of the transition in evolutionary ethics with reference to some major works from ethics, sociobiology, moral psychology, and primatology. The causes and nature of the transition are discussed by making a distinction between traditional and recent trends in evolutionary ethics enabling us to understand the significance of contemporary evolutionary ethics. The study is gradually directed toward a crucial question of ethics that is the place of reason in morality and what evolutionary ethics implies for (...)
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  6. Human and nonhuman norms: a dimensional framework.Kristin Andrews, Simon Fitzpatrick & Evan Westra - 2024 - Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 379 (1897):20230026.
    Human communities teem with a variety of social norms. In order to change unjust and harmful social norms, it is crucial to identify the psychological processes that give rise to them. Most researchers take it for granted that social norms are uniquely human. By contrast, we approach this matter from a comparative perspective, leveraging recent research on animal social behaviour. While there is currently only suggestive evidence for norms in nonhuman communities, we argue that human social norms are likely produced (...)
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  7. L'evoluzione della morale per selezione naturale.Andrea Guardo - 2024 - Milano: Raffaello Cortina Editore.
    Secondo un programma di ricerca inaugurato da Darwin e oggi sempre più popolare, gli aspetti fondamentali della nostra psicologia morale sono il prodotto della selezione naturale. Le nostre convinzioni morali, così come la nostra tendenza a comportarci in accordo con queste convinzioni, sarebbero il risultato di processi analoghi a quelli che hanno prodotto il collo delle giraffe e le ali degli uccelli: la ragione per cui siamo convinti di dover tener fede alla parola data è che questa credenza è stata (...)
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  8. What Roles Do Emotions Play in Morality?Antti Kauppinen - 2024 - In Andrea Scarantino (ed.), The Routledge Handbook of Emotion Theory. Routledge.
    This chapter offers an overview of four key debates about the roles of emotion in morality. First, many believe that emotions are an important psychological mechanism for explaining altruistic behavior and moral conscience in humans. Second, there is considerable debate about the causal role of affective reactions in moral judgment. Third, some philosophers have argued that emotions have a constitutive role in moral thought and even moral facts. Finally, philosophers disagree about whether affective influence undermines the justification of moral beliefs (...)
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  9. A more thought-ful ape?Mara Bollard - 2023 - Biology and Philosophy 38 (4):1-12.
    In A Better Ape, Victor Kumar and Richmond Campbell (2022) provide an ambitious and compelling history of the evolution of human morality. Informed by evidence from an impressively vast multidisciplinary literature, they offer a rich bio-cultural evolutionary explanation of how the human moral mind arose and developed over time that has wide appeal for philosophers and scientists alike. In this paper, I examine Kumar and Campbell’s novel moral psychology and raise questions about their account of the relationship between moral norms (...)
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  10. Religion and its Evolution: Signals, Norms and Secret Histories.Carl Brusse & Kim Sterelny (eds.) - 2023 - London ; New York: Taylor & Francis.
    This book examines why individuals and communities invest heavily in their religious life through multi-disciplinary perspectives. It pursues philosophical, psychological, deep time historical and adaptive answers to this question. Religion is a profoundly puzzling phenomenon from an evolutionary perspective. Commitment to religions are typically expensive, and most of the beliefs that motivate them cannot be true (since religious belief systems are inconsistent with one another). Yet some form of religion seems to be universal and resilient in historically known cultures – (...)
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  11. How Gene–Culture Coevolution Can—but Probably Did Not—Track Mind-Independent Moral Truth.Nathan Cofnas - 2023 - Philosophical Quarterly 73 (2):414-434.
    I argue that our general disposition to make moral judgments and our core moral intuitions are likely the product of social selection—a kind of gene–culture coevolution driven by the enforcement of collectively agreed-upon rules. Social selection could potentially track mind-independent moral truth by a process that I term realist social selection: our ancestors could have acquired moral knowledge via reason and enforced rules based on that knowledge, thereby creating selection pressures that drove the evolution of our moral psychology. Given anthropological (...)
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  12. The Interplay of Social Identity and Norm Psychology in the Evolution of Human Groups.Kati Kish Bar-On & Ehud Lamm - 2023 - Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 378 (20210412).
    People’s attitudes towards social norms play a crucial role in understanding group behavior. Norm psychology accounts focus on processes of norm internalization that influence people’s norm following attitudes but pay considerably less attention to social identity and group identification processes. Social identity theory in contrast studies group identity but works with a relatively thin and instrumental notion of social norms. We argue that to best understand both sets of phenomena, it is important to integrate the insights of both approaches. Social (...)
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  13. Evolutionary debunking of (arguments for) moral realism.Arnon Levy & Itamar Weinshtock Saadon - 2023 - Synthese 201 (5):1-22.
    Moral realism is often taken to have common sense and initial appearances on its side. Indeed, by some lights, common sense and initial appearances underlie all the central positive arguments for moral realism. We offer a kind of debunking argument, taking aim at realism’s common sense standing. Our argument differs from familiar debunking moves both in its empirical assumptions and in how it targets the realist position. We argue that if natural selection explains the objective phenomenology of moral deliberation and (...)
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  14. Moral Progress for Better Apes.Joshua May - 2023 - Biology and Philosophy 38 (4):1-13.
    The evolutionary model of moral progress developed in A Better Ape is nuanced and illuminating. Kumar and Campbell use their view of the evolved moral mind to analyze clear cases of increased inclusivity and equality (at least in Western society). Their analyses elucidate the psychological and social mechanisms that can drive moral progress (or regress). In this commentary, I raise three main concerns about their model: that factors other than social integration are more central to progress; that their model isn’t (...)
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  15. Purity is linked to cooperation but not necessarily through self-control.Samuel Murray, Santiago Amaya & William Jiménez-Leal - 2023 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 46:e311.
    Fitouchi et al. claim that seemingly victimless pleasures and nonproductive activities are moralized because they alter self-control. Their account predicts that: (1) victimless excesses are negatively moralized because they diminish self-control, and (2) restrained behaviors are positively moralized because they enhance self-control. Several examples run contrary to these predictions and call into question the general relationship between self-control and cooperation.
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  16. Cultural Identity and Intergroup Conflicts: Testing Parochial Altruism Model via Archaeological Data.Hisashi Nakao - 2023 - Annals of the Japan Association for Philosophy of Science 32:75-87.
    The present research used archaeological data, i.e., the data obtained from kamekan jar burials in the Mikuni Hills of the northern Kyushu area in the Mid- dle Yayoi period, to test the parochial altruism model. This model argued that out-group hate and in-group favor coevolved via prehistoric intergroup conflicts. If this model is accurate, such an out-group hate and in-group favor could be re- flected in the archaeological remains, such as pottery making; the more frequent intergroup conflicts are and the (...)
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  17. Intergroup conflicts in human evolution: A critical review of the parochial altruism model(人間進化における集団間紛争 ―偏狭な利他性モデルを中心に―).Hisashi Nakao, Kohei Tamura & Tomomi Nakagawa - 2023 - Japanese Psychological Review 65 (2):119-134.
    The evolution of altruism in human societies has been intensively investigated in social and natural sciences. A widely acknowledged recent idea is the “parochial altruism model,” which suggests that inter- group hostility and intragroup altruism can coevolve through lethal intergroup conflicts. The current article critically examines this idea by reviewing research relevant to intergroup conflicts in human evolutionary history from evolutionary biology, psychology, cultural anthropology, and archaeology. After a brief intro- duction, section 2 illustrates the mathematical model of parochial altruism (...)
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  18. Morals and the Evolution of Man.Max Simon Nordau & Marie Adèle Lewenz - 2023 - New York,: Alpha Edition. Edited by Marie Adèle Lewenz.
    Morals and the Evolution of Man, a classical book, has been considered essential throughout the human history, and so that this work is never forgotten we at Alpha Editions have made efforts in its preservation by republishing this book in a modern format for present and future generations. This whole book has been reformatted, retyped and designed. These books are not made of scanned copies of their original work and hence the text is clear and readable.
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  19. Nostalgia, Morality, and Mass Entertainment: An Existential Exploration Through the Lens of Popular Science.M. E. Sancak - 2023 - Zenodo.
    This interdisciplinary exploration synthesizes the philosophical reflections of Adam Kaiser with empirical insights from popular science to unravel the intricate dynamics of nostalgia, morality, and mass entertainment in a modern world increasingly disconnected from traditional values. Examining the psychological, neurobiological, and cultural aspects, the essay investigates how nostalgia serves as a potent coping mechanism, offering temporary relief from the moral complexities and existential questions of contemporary life. Popular science contributes valuable perspectives from fields such as media psychology, cognitive neuroscience, evolutionary (...)
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  20. Моральные архетипы: этика в доистории.Roberto Thomas Arruda - 2023 - São Paulo: Terra à Vista.
    Философские, традиционные подходы к морали в основном основаны на метафизических и теологических концепциях и теориях. Среди традиционных концепций этики наиболее заметной является теория божественного повеления (DCT). Согласно DCT, Бог дает человечеству моральные основы через его творение и откровение. Мораль и божественность были неразделимы со времен самой далекой цивилизации. Эти концепции укладываются в теологические рамки и в основном принимаются большинством последователей трех авраамических традиций: иудаизма, христианства и ислама: наиболее значительной части человеческого населения. Теории Божественного повеления основываются на вере и откровении и (...)
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  21. The delusive benefit of the doubt.Tomasz Wysocki - 2023 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 100 (C):47-55.
    Science promises benefits, some true and some illusory. Consider a scientific agnostic who thinks that to reap the true benefits of a scientific theory he does not have to believe in its theoretical posits. Instead, it is enough if he believes that the theory successfully predicts the behavior of the observables, as ultimately only such predictions matter. -/- Say, however, that given the results of her thorough research, a psychologist proposes a theory describing a psychological mechanism underlying a certain class (...)
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  22. Do Humans Have a Reliable Conscience?Matthew Braddock - 2022 - Theological Puzzles.
    Do humans have a reliable conscience? Do we have generally reliable (though fallible) moral intuitions? Many believe so. However, this idea is hard to reconcile with two broad scientific findings. First, consider the extensive moral diversity documented in the scientific literature. The moral differences we find across cultures and history should make us wonder whether we humans really do have a reliable conscience. Second, consider the influential role of culture. The scientific literature tells us that cultural processes largely determine the (...)
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  23. Under- and Overspecification in Moral Foundation Theory. The Problematic Search for a Moderate Version of Innatism.Rodrigo Sebastián Braicovich - 2022 - Rhv. An International Journal of Philosophy 19:163-179.
    Jonathan Haidt’s _Moral Foundation Theory _has been criticized on many fronts, mainly on account of its lack of evidence concerning the genetic and neurological bases of the evolved moral intuitions that the theory posits. Despite the fact that Haidt’s theory is probably the most promising framework from which to integrate the different lines of interdisciplinary research that deal with the evolutionary foundations of moral psychology, _i) _it also shows a critical underspecification concerning the precise mental processes that instantiate the triggering (...)
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  24. Explaining costly religious practices: credibility enhancing displays and signaling theories.Carl Brusse, Toby Handfield & Kevin J. S. Zollman - 2022 - Synthese 200 (3):1-32.
    This paper examines and contrasts two closely related evolutionary explanations in human behaviour: signalling theory, and the theory of Credibility Enhancing Displays. Both have been proposed to explain costly, dangerous, or otherwise ‘extravagant’ social behaviours, especially in the context of religious belief and practice, and each have spawned significant lines of empirical research. However, the relationship between these two theoretical frameworks is unclear, and research which engages both of them is largely absent. In this paper we seek to address this (...)
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  25. On Cuteness.P. Winston Fettner - 2022 - Aesthetics Research Lab.
    Cuteness has an essential place in evolutionary aesthetics, not only for its role in developing Darwinian and empirical approaches to aesthetics, but also in the application of evolutionary aesthetics to ethics, even suggesting a contribution to the ethics of human interaction with non-animal species. This brief treatment outlines some of the distinctive features of cuteness, calling attention to some of the empirical research and arguing for more sustained inquiry.
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  26. A lineage explanation of human normative guidance: the coadaptive model of instrumental rationality and shared intentionality.Ivan Gonzalez-Cabrera - 2022 - Synthese 200 (6):1-32.
    This paper aims to contribute to the existing literature on normative cognition by providing a lineage explanation of human social norm psychology. This approach builds upon theories of goal-directed behavioral control in the reinforcement learning and control literature, arguing that this form of control defines an important class of intentional normative mental states that are instrumental in nature. I defend the view that great ape capacities for instrumental reasoning and our capacity (or family of capacities) for shared intentionality coadapted to (...)
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  27. Improved model exploration for the relationship between moral foundations and moral judgment development using Bayesian Model Averaging.Hyemin Han & Kelsie J. Dawson - 2022 - Journal of Moral Education 51 (2):204-218.
    Although some previous studies have investigated the relationship between moral foundations and moral judgment development, the methods used have not been able to fully explore the relationship. In the present study, we used Bayesian Model Averaging (BMA) in order to address the limitations in traditional regression methods that have been used previously. Results showed consistency with previous findings that binding foundations are negatively correlated with post-conventional moral reasoning and positively correlated with maintaining norms and personal interest schemas. In addition to (...)
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  28. A Second-Personal Approach to the Evolution of Morality.Carme Isern-Mas & Antoni Gomila - 2022 - Biological Theory 17 (3):199-209.
    Building on the discussion between Stephen Darwall and Michael Tomassello, we propose an alternative evolutionary account of moral motivation in its two-pronged dimension. We argue that an evolutionary account of moral motivation must account for the two forms of moral motivation that we distinguish: motivation to be partial, which is triggered by the affective relationships we develop with others; and motivation to be impartial, which is triggered by those norms to which we give impartial validity. To that aim, we present (...)
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  29. Darwin, Charles.Charles H. Pence - 2022 - Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    Charles Darwin (1809–1882) Charles Darwin is primarily known as the architect of the theory of evolution by natural selection. With the publication of On the Origin of Species in 1859, he advanced a view of the development of life on earth that profoundly shaped nearly all biological and much philosophical thought which followed. A number….
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  30. Empathy and the Evolutionary Emergence of Guilt.Grant Ramsey & Michael J. Deem - 2022 - Philosophy of Science 89 (3):434-453.
    Guilt poses a unique evolutionary problem. Unlike other dysphoric emotions, it is not immediately clear what its adaptive significance is. One can imagine thriving despite or even because of a lack of guilt. In this article, we review solutions offered by Scott James, Richard Joyce, and Robert Frank and show that although their solutions have merit, none adequately solves the puzzle. We offer an alternative solution, one that emphasizes the role of empathy and posttransgression behavior in the evolution of guilt. (...)
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  31. Hope for the Evolutionary Debunker: How Evolutionary Debunking Arguments and Arguments from Moral Disagreement Can Join Forces.Folke Tersman & Olle Risberg - 2022 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice:1-17.
    Facts about moral disagreement and human evolution have both been said to exclude the possibility of moral knowledge, but the question of how these challenges interact has largely gone unaddressed. The paper aims to present and defend a novel version of the evolutionary “debunking” argument for moral skepticism that appeals to both types of considerations. This argument has several advantages compared to more familiar versions. The standard debunking strategy is to argue that evolutionary accounts of moral beliefs generate skeptical implications (...)
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  32. Morality as an Evolutionary Exaptation.Marcus Arvan - 2021 - In Johan De Smedt & Helen De Cruz (eds.), Empirically Engaged Evolutionary Ethics. Synthese Library. Springer - Synthese Library. pp. 89-109.
    The dominant theory of the evolution of moral cognition across a variety of fields is that moral cognition is a biological adaptation to foster social cooperation. This chapter argues, to the contrary, that moral cognition is likely an evolutionary exaptation: a form of cognition where neurobiological capacities selected for in our evolutionary history for a variety of different reasons—many unrelated to social cooperation—were put to a new, prosocial use after the fact through individual rationality, learning, and the development and transmission (...)
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  33. Toolmaking and the Evolution of Normative Cognition.Jonathan Birch - 2021 - Biology and Philosophy 36 (1):1-26.
    We are all guided by thousands of norms, but how did our capacity for normative cognition evolve? I propose there is a deep but neglected link between normative cognition and practical skill. In modern humans, complex motor skills and craft skills, such as toolmaking, are guided by internally represented norms of correct performance. Moreover, it is plausible that core components of human normative cognition evolved as a solution to the distinctive problems of transmitting complex motor skills and craft skills, especially (...)
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  34. The Contingency of the Cultural Evolution of Morality, Debunking, and Theism vs. Naturalism.Matthew Braddock - 2021 - In Johan De Smedt & Helen De Cruz (eds.), Empirically Engaged Evolutionary Ethics. Synthese Library. Springer - Synthese Library. pp. 179-201.
    Is the cultural evolution of morality fairly contingent? Could cultural evolution have easily led humans to moral norms and judgments that are mostly false by our present lights? If so, does it matter philosophically? Yes, or so we argue. We empirically motivate the contingency of cultural evolution and show that it makes two major philosophical contributions. First, it shows that moral objectivists cannot explain the reliability of our moral judgments and thus strengthens moral debunking arguments. Second, it shows that the (...)
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  35. The Perpetual Struggle: How the Coevolution of Hierarchy and Resistance Drives the Evolution of Morality and Institutions.Allen Buchanan - 2021 - Social Philosophy and Policy 38 (2):232-260.
    Since the earliest human societies, there has been an ongoing struggle between hierarchy and resistance to hierarchy, and this struggle is a major driver of the evolution of moralities and of institutions. Attempts to initiate or sustain hierarchies are often met with resistance; hierarchs then adopt new strategies, which in turn prompt new strategies of resistance; and so on. The key point is that the struggle is typically conducted using moral concepts in justifications for or against unequal power and involves (...)
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  36. How We Became Human: And Why We Need to Change.Tim Dean - 2021 - Sydney: Pan Macmillan.
    Over many thousands of years, humans developed mechanisms to help us live together in ever-larger social groups. We developed moral emotions, such as empathy, guilt and outrage, as well as a bias in favour of people in our in-groups, and a propensity to punish perceived wrongdoers. Our culture also evolved, giving us tools like religion and politics that expanded community sizes and maintained moral order. -/- While these mechanisms served our ancestors well, our evolved moral psychology is often out of (...)
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  37. Precision Medicine, Data, and the Anthropology of Social Status.Hugh Desmond - 2021 - American Journal of Bioethics 21 (4):80-83.
    The success of precision medicine depends on obtaining large amounts of information about at-risk populations. However, getting consent is often difficult. Why? In this commentary I point to the differentials in social status involved. These differentials are inevitable once personal information is surrendered, but are particularly intense when the studied populations are socioeconomically or socioculturally disadvantaged and/or ethnically stigmatized groups. I suggest how the deep distrust of the latter groups can be partially justified as a lack of confidence that their (...)
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  38. A dilemma for evolutionary debunking arguments.Uri D. Leibowitz - 2021 - Philosophical Studies 178 (1):45-69.
    Evolutionary debunkers claim that evolutionary explanations of moral phenomena lead to sceptical conclusions. The aim of this paper is to show that even if we grant debunkers the speculative claims that evolution provides the best explanation of moral phenomena and that there are no other moral phenomena for which moral facts/properties are indispensable, the sceptical conclusions debunkers seek to establish still do not follow. The problem for debunkers is to link the empirical explanatory claim to the normative conclusion that moral (...)
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  39. The Cultural Evolution of Extended Benevolence.Andres Luco - 2021 - In Johan De Smedt & Helen De Cruz (eds.), Empirically Engaged Evolutionary Ethics. Synthese Library. Springer - Synthese Library. pp. 153-177.
    Abstract In The Descent of Man (1879), Charles Darwin proposed a speculative evolutionary explanation of extended benevolence—a human sympathetic capacity that extends to all nations, races, and even to all sentient beings. This essay draws on twenty-first century social science to show that Darwin’s explanation is correct in its broad outlines. Extended benevolence is manifested in institutions such as legal human rights and democracy, in behaviors such as social movements for human rights and the protection of nonhuman animals, and in (...)
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  40. Nietzsche’s Theory of Empathy.Vasfi O. Özen - 2021 - Philosophical Papers 50 (1-2):235-280.
    Nietzsche is not known for his theory of empathy. A quick skimming of the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy entry on empathy demonstrates this. Arthur Schopenhauer, Robert Vischer, and Theodor Lipps are among those whose views are considered representative, but Nietzsche has been simply forgotten in discussion of empathy. Nietzsche’s theory of empathy has not yet aroused sufficient interest among commentators. I believe that his views on this subject merit careful consideration. Nietzsche scholars have been interested in his naturalistic accounts of (...)
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  41. Social Animals and the Potential for Morality: On the Cultural Exaptation of Behavioral Capacities Required for Normativity.Estelle Palao - 2021 - In Johan De Smedt & Helen De Cruz (eds.), Empirically Engaged Evolutionary Ethics. Synthese Library. Springer - Synthese Library. pp. 111-134.
    To help bridge the explanatory gap of how normativity branched off into morality in the course of evolutionary history, I claim that morality is a form of social normativity, specifically a form of cultural normativity. Furthermore, with the origins of its behavioral capacities rooted in normative practice, morality should be considered as an exaptation, a secondary adaptation shaped through cultural selection and evolution. Cultural selection pressures differ across social groups, as well as various species. Empirical evidence has shown that animals (...)
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  42. Biological Markets, Cooperation, and the Evolution of Morality.Joeri Witteveen - 2021 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 72 (2):401-430.
    Biological market theory has in recent years become an important part of the social evolutionist’s toolkit. This article discusses the explanatory potential and pitfalls of biological market theory in the context of big picture accounts of the evolution of human cooperation and morality. I begin by assessing an influential account that presents biological market dynamics as a key driver of the evolution of fairness norms in humans. I argue that this account is problematic for theoretical, empirical, and conceptual reasons. After (...)
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  43. Morality as Cognitive Scaffolding in the Nucleus of the Mesoamerican Cosmovision.Alfredo Robles Zamora - 2021 - In Johan De Smedt & Helen De Cruz (eds.), Empirically Engaged Evolutionary Ethics. Synthese Library. Springer - Synthese Library.
    The aim of this chapter is to investigate changes and continuities of human moral systems from an evolutionary and socio-historical perspective. Specifically, I will argue that these systems can be approached through the lens of non-genetic inheritance systems and niche construction. I will examine morality from a comparative socio-historical perspective. From this, I suggest that these inheritance systems are cognitively scaffolded, and that these scaffolds are part of the nucleus of the historical Mesoamerican cosmovision.
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  44. Naïve Normativity: The Social Foundation of Moral Cognition.Kristin Andrews - 2020 - Journal of the American Philosophical Association 6 (1):36-56.
    To answer tantalizing questions such as whether animals are moral or how morality evolved, I propose starting with a somewhat less fraught question: do animals have normative cognition? Recent psychological research suggests that normative thinking, or ought-thought, begins early in human development. Recent philosophical research suggests that folk psychology is grounded in normative thought. Recent primatology research finds evidence of sophisticated cultural and social learning capacities in great apes. Drawing on these three literatures, I argue that the human variety of (...)
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  45. No need to get up from the armchair.Dan Baras - 2020 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 23 (3):575-590.
    Several authors believe that metaethicists ought to leave their comfortable armchairs and engage with serious empirical research. This paper provides partial support for the opposing view, that metaethics is rightly conducted from the armchair. It does so by focusing on debunking arguments against robust moral realism. Specifically, the article discusses arguments based on the possibility that if robust realism is correct, then our beliefs are most likely insensitive to the relevant truths. These arguments seem at first glance to be dependent (...)
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  46. Chimpanzee normativity: evidence and objections.Simon Fitzpatrick - 2020 - Biology and Philosophy 35 (4):1-28.
    This paper considers the question of whether chimpanzees possess at least a primitive sense of normativity: i.e., some ability to internalize and enforce social norms—rules governing appropriate and inappropriate behaviour—within their social groups, and to make evaluations of others’ behaviour in light of such norms. A number of scientists and philosophers have argued that such a sense of normativity does exist in chimpanzees and in several other non-human primate and mammalian species. However, the dominant view in the scientific and philosophical (...)
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  47. The coevolution of sacred value and religion.Toby Handfield - 2020 - Religion, Brain and Behavior 10 (3):252-271.
    Sacred value attitudes involve a distinctive profile of norm psychology: an absolutist prohibition on transgressing the value, combined with outrage at even hypothetical transgressions. This article considers three mechanisms by which such attitudes may be adaptive, and relates them to central theories regarding the evolution of religion. The first, “deterrence” mechanism functions to dissuade coercive expropriation of valuable resources. This mechanism explains the existence of sacred value attitudes prior to the development of religion and also explains analogues of sacred value (...)
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  48. Flowers and Honeybees: A Study of Morality In Nature.Christopher Ketcham - 2020 - Leyden: Brill | Rodopi.
    The journey towards morality in nature can be seen through the million-year-old relationship of the flowering plant and honeybee social group. _Flowers and Honeybees_ brings what science has learned into a dialog with the philosophy of morality.
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  49. Against Minimalist Responses to Moral Debunking Arguments.Daniel Z. Korman & Dustin Locke - 2020 - Oxford Studies in Metaethics 15:309-332.
    Moral debunking arguments are meant to show that, by realist lights, moral beliefs are not explained by moral facts, which in turn is meant to show that they lack some significant counterfactual connection to the moral facts (e.g., safety, sensitivity, reliability). The dominant, “minimalist” response to the arguments—sometimes defended under the heading of “third-factors” or “pre-established harmonies”—involves affirming that moral beliefs enjoy the relevant counterfactual connection while granting that these beliefs are not explained by the moral facts. We show that (...)
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  50. The Social Function of Morality.Andreas Müller - 2020 - In Rebekka Hufendiek, Daniel James & Raphael van Riel (eds.), Social Functions in Philosophy: Metaphysical, Normative, and Methodological Perspectives. New York: Routledge. pp. 135–158.
    This chapter discusses various attempts at deriving metaethical conclusions from claims about the function of morality. In doing so, it will, for the most part, grant the truth of such function claims and focus on what metaethical theses they do and do not support. After briefly surveying various recent proposals that rely on functions claims in an attempt to debunk the possibility of robust moral truth and knowledge, the chapter focusses on the contrary, vindicatory project. The proponents of this project (...)
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