The biological roots of morality

Biology and Philosophy 2 (3):235-252 (1987)
Abstract
The question whether ethical behavior is biologically determined may refer either to thecapacity for ethics (e.i., the proclivity to judge human actions as either right or wrong), or to the moralnorms accepted by human beings for guiding their actions. My theses are: (1) that the capacity for ethics is a necessary attribute of human nature; and (2) that moral norms are products of cultural evolution, not of biological evolution.Humans exhibits ethical behavior by nature because their biological makeup determines the presence of the three necessary, and jointly sufficient, conditions for ethical behavior: (i) the ability to anticipate the consequences of one's own actions; (ii) the ability to make value judgements; and (iii) the ability to choose between alternative courses of action. Ethical behavior came about in evolution not because it is adaptive in itself, but as a necessary consequece of man's eminent intellectual abilities, which are an attribute directly promoted by natural selection.
Keywords Sociobiology  evolutionary ethics  ethical behavior  norms of morality  animal ethics
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DOI 10.1007/BF00128831
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References found in this work BETA
A Treatise of Human Nature.David Hume - 1739/2000 - Oxford University Press.
Sociobiology: The New Synthesis.Edward O. Wilson - 2000 - Journal of the History of Biology 33 (3):577-584.
On Aggression.Konrad Lorenz, Robert Ardrey, Desmond Morris & Lionel Tiger - 1971 - Science and Society 35 (2):209-219.

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Citations of this work BETA
Evolutionary Ethics: Healthy Prospect or Last Infirmity?Michael Ruse - 1988 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 14 (Supp):27-73.

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