How Can Evolution and Neuroscience Help Us Understand Moral Capacities?
Trying to understand morality has been a central human preoccupation for as far back as human history extends, and for very good reasons. The core phenomenon is readily observable: we humans judge each other’s behaviour as right or wrong, and each other’s selves as moral or immoral. If others view you as moral, you will thrive in the bosom of a human group. If, however, others view you as immoral, you are in deep trouble; you may even die young, either at the hands of others, or alone in the bush. These are very good reasons indeed for close attention to morality.
KeywordsSocial Anxiety Disorder Antisocial Personality Disorder Moral Emotion Social Selection Naturalistic Fallacy
Preparation of this manuscript was made possible by a Fellowship from the Berlin Institute for Advanced Study.
- Bloom, P. (2004). Descartes’ baby: How the science of child development explains what makes us human. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
- Darwall, S. L., Gibbard, A., & Railton, P. A. (1997). Moral discourse and practice: Some philosophical approaches. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- Hammerstein, P. (2003). Genetic and cultural evolution of cooperation. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press in Cooperation with Dahlem University Press.Google Scholar
- Hume, D. (1985 ). An treatise of human nature. London: Penguin Classics.Google Scholar
- Katz, L. (2000). Evolutionary origins of morality : Cross disciplinary perspectives. Devon: Imprint Academic.Google Scholar
- Moore, G. E. (1903). Principia ethica. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
- Nesse, R. M. (2006). Why so many people with selfish genes are pretty nice-except for their hatred of the selfish gene. In A. Grafen & M. Ridley (Eds.), Richard dawkins (pp. 203–212). London: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- Nesse, R. M., & Williams, G. C. (1994). Why we get sick: The new science of Darwinian medicine. New York: Vintage Books.Google Scholar
- Peterson, C., & Seligman, M. E. P. (2004). Character strengths and virtues: A handbook and classification. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- West-Eberhard, M. J. (1979). Sexual selection, social competition, and evolution Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society, 123(4), 222–234.Google Scholar
- Williams, G. C. (1966). Adaptation and natural selection: A critique of some current evolutionary thought. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar