Too Strong for Principle: An Examination of the Theory and Philosophical Implications of Evolutionary Ethics

Evolutionary ethics is a discipline that has formed around the belief that human-kind’s conception of morality was developed through the evolutionary process of natural selection. Various mechanisms concern-ing the evolution of morality have been proposed within the theory of natural selection, and I believe that many authors in the field focus too narrowly on one or a few of them in their efforts to model the origins of morality. In this paper I hope to present a broader review of many potential evolutionary mechanisms and the evidence supporting them, in an effort to show that they are not mutually exclusive and may have all played a role in the formation of components of the complex moral system that exists today. Many writers in the field of evolutionary ethics tend to focus too narrowly on either the biological mechanisms through which morality is proposed to have evolved, or else on the philosophical ramifications that an acceptance of evolutionary ethics would have for our current conception of morality. As I feel that both aspects are equally important for the proper understanding and application of evolutionary ethics I hope to give equal and detailed attention to both the biological theory and the resultant philosophical implications
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