Biology and Philosophy

, Volume 4, Issue 1, pp 17-32

First online:

Obligation and the new naturalism

  • Roger D. MastersAffiliated withDartmouth College

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Although it has become increasingly evident that an adequate theory of obligation must rest on evolutionary biology and human ethology, attempts toward this end need to explore the full range of personal, cultural, and political obligations observed in our species. The “new naturalism” reveals the complexity of social behavior and the defects of reductionist models that oversimplify the foundations of human duties and rights. Ultimately, this approach suggest a return to the Aristotelian concept of “natural justice”.

Key Words

Obligation altruism law human ethology evolutionary theory natural justice