Biology and Philosophy 2 (3):235-252 (1987)
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|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
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Citations of this work BETA
The Individuality Thesis, Essences, and Laws of Nature.Michael T. Ghiselin - 1988 - Biology and Philosophy 3 (4):467-474.
Beyond Uncertainties: Some Open Questions About Chaos and Ethics.Teresa Kwiatkowska - 2001 - Ethics and the Environment 6 (1):96-115.
Evolutionary Ethics: Healthy Prospect or Last Infirmity?Michael Ruse - 1988 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 14 (Supp):27-73.
Philosophy of Biology Under Attack: Stent Vs. Rosenberg. [REVIEW]Paul Thompson - 1989 - Biology and Philosophy 4 (3):345-351.
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