Mind reading, deception and the evolution of Kantian moral agents

Classical evolutionary explanations of social behavior classify behaviors from their effects, not from their underlying mechanisms. Here lies a potential objection against the view that morality can be explained by such models, e.g. Trivers’reciprocal altruism. However, evolutionary theory reveals a growing interest in the evolution of psychological mechanisms and factors them in as selective forces. This opens up perspectives for evolutionary approaches to problems that have traditionally worried moral philosophers. Once the ability to mind-read is factored-in among the relevant variables in the evolution of moral abilities and counted among the selection pressures that have plausibly shaped our nature as moral agents, an evolutionary approach can contribute, so I will argue, to the solution of a long-standing debate in moral philosophy and psychology concerning the basic motivation for moral behavior.
Keywords Altruism  Selfishness  Moral contractarianism  Evolution  Motivation
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DOI 10.1111/j.0021-8308.2004.00239.x
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C. M. Heyes (1998). Theory of Mind in Nonhuman Primates. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 21 (1):101-114.

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