The Evolution of Morality

  • Todd K. Shackelford
  • Ranald D. Hansen

Part of the Evolutionary Psychology book series (EVOLPSYCH)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xiv
  2. Psychological Design and Development

  3. Philosophy and Ethics

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 77-77
    2. Gregory Gorelik, Todd K. Shackelford
      Pages 79-111
    3. Tyler Millhouse, Lance S. Bush, David Moss
      Pages 113-135
    4. David Benatar
      Pages 137-140
  4. Animal Behavior and Comparative Psychology

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 155-155
    2. Katie Hall, Sarah F. Brosnan
      Pages 157-176
  5. Religious Beliefs and Behavior

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 195-195
    2. Yael Sela, Todd K. Shackelford, James R. Liddle
      Pages 197-216
  6. Politics, Law, and Game Theory

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 245-245
    2. Troels Bøggild, Michael Bang Petersen
      Pages 247-276
    3. Jeffrey Evans Stake
      Pages 277-287
    4. Moshe Hoffman, Erez Yoeli, Carlos David Navarrete
      Pages 289-316
  7. Back Matter
    Pages 317-323

About this book


This interdisciplinary collection presents novel theories, includes provocative re-workings of longstanding arguments, and offers a healthy cross-pollination of ideas to the morality literature. Structures, functions, and content of morality are reconsidered as cultural, religious, and political components are added to the standard biological/environmental mix. Innovative concepts such as the Periodic Table of Ethics and evidence for morality in non-human species illuminate areas for further discussion and research. And some of the book’s contributors question premises we hold dear, such as morality as a product of reason, the existence of moral truths, and the motto “life is good.” 

Highlights of the coverage: 

  • The tripartite theory of Machiavellian morality: judgment, influence, and conscience as distinct moral adaptations.
  • Prosocial morality from a biological, cultural, and developmental perspective.
  • The containment problem and the evolutionary debunking of morality.
  • A comparative perspective on the evolution of moral behavior.
  • A moral guide to depravity: religiously-motivated violence and sexual selection.
  • Game theory and the strategic logic of moral intuitions.

The Evolution of Morality makes a stimulating supplementary text for advanced undergraduate and graduate courses in the evolutionary sciences, particularly in psychology, biology, anthropology, sociology, political science, religious studies, and philosophy.


cannibalism compassion in animals economic systems evolution of empathy in rats evolution of morality evolution of morality in nonhuman primates evolution of sexuality morality evolution of the mind evolutionary sciences free will illusion of free will law and morality moral development morality morality and economics neuroscience of morality psychiatric disorders science of morality

Editors and affiliations

  • Todd K. Shackelford
    • 1
  • Ranald D. Hansen
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyOakland UniversityRochesterUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyOakland UniversityRochesterUSA

Bibliographic information

  • DOI
  • Copyright Information Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016
  • Publisher Name Springer, Cham
  • eBook Packages Behavioral Science and Psychology
  • Print ISBN 978-3-319-19670-1
  • Online ISBN 978-3-319-19671-8
  • Series Print ISSN 2197-9898
  • Series Online ISSN 2197-9901
  • Buy this book on publisher's site