Original Scientific Article

Evolution: Education and Outreach

, Volume 2, Issue 4, pp 590-601

First online:

The Evolution of Morality

  • Douglas AllchinAffiliated withProgram in History of Science and Technology, University of Minnesota Email author 


Here, in textbook style, is a concise biological account of the evolution of morality. It addresses morality on three levels: moral outcomes (behavioral genetics), moral motivation or intent (psychology and neurology), and moral systems (sociality). The rationale for teaching this material is addressed in Allchin (2009). Classroom resources (including accompanying images and video links) and a discussion of teaching strategies are provided online at: http://​EvolutionOfMoral​ity.​net.


Morality Moral behavior Kin selection Inclusive fitness Reciprocity Sympathy Open behavioral program Learning Emergence Tragedy of the commons Strong reciprocity Network reciprocity Image scoring Indirect reciprocity Biological determinism Naturalistic fallacy Naturalizing error