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Abstract: It is certainly the case that morality governs the interactions that take place between individuals. But what if morality exists because of these interactions? This book argues for the claim that much of the behaviour we view as 'moral' exists because acting in that way benefits each of us to the greatest extent possible, given the socially structured nature of society. Drawing upon aspects of evolutionary game theory, the theory of bounded rationality, and computational models of social networks, it shows both how moral behaviour can emerge in socially structured environments, and how it can persist even when it is not typically viewed as 'rational' from a traditional economic perspective. Since morality consists of much more than mere behaviour, this book also provides a theory of how moral principles and the moral sentiments play an indispensable role in effective choice, acting as 'fast and frugal heuristics' in social decision contexts
Abstract: In this paper we argue that there is much to learn about “wild justice” and the evolutionary origins of morality – behaving fairly – by studying social play behavior in group-living mammals. Because of its relatively wide distribution among the mammals, ethological investigation of play, informed by interdisciplinary cooperation, can provide a comparative perspective on the evolution of ethical behavior that is broader than is provided by the usual focus on primate sociality. Careful analysis of social play reveals rules of engagement that guide animals in their social encounters. Because of its significance in development, play may provide a foundation of fairness for other forms of cooperation that are advantageous to group living. Questions about the evolutionary roots of cooperation, fairness, trust, forgiveness, and morality are best answered by attention to the details of what animals do when they engage in social play – how they negotiate agreements to cooperate, to forgive, to behave fairly, and to develop trust. We consider questions such as why play fairly? Why did play evolve as it has? Does “being fair” mean being more fit? Do individual variations in play influence an individual’s reproductive fitness? Can we use information about the foundations of moral behavior in animals to help us understand ourselves? We conclude that there is likely to be strong selection for cooperative fair play because there are mutual benefits when individuals adopt this strategy and group stability may also be fostered. Numerous mechanisms have evolved to facilitate the initiation and maintenance of social play, to keep others engaged, so that agreeing to play fairly and the resulting benefits of doing so can be readily achieved
Abstract: In this paper, I critically summarize John Cartwrtight’s Evolution and Human Behavior and evaluate what he says about certain moral implications of Darwinian views of human behavior. He takes a Darwinism-doesn’t-rock-the-boat approach and argues that Darwinism, even if it is allied with evolutionary psychology, does not give us reason to be worried about the alterability of our behavior, nor does it give us reason to think that we may have to change our ordinary practices and views concerning free-will and moral responsibility. In response, I contend that Darwinism, when it is allied with evolutionary psychology, makes for a more potent cocktail than Cartwright suspects
Broom, Donald M. (2003). The Evolution of Morality and Religion. Cambridge University Press. (Google)
Abstract: Donald Broom argues that morality and the central components of religion are of great value, and presents two central ideas. He asserts that morality has a biological foundation and has evolved as a consequence of natural selection, and that religions are essentially the structures supporting morality. Many philosophers and theologians write about morality and its origins without reference to biological processes such as evolution. Likewise, biologists discuss phenomena of importance to human morality and religion without taking account of the thoughts of others on these subjects
Abstract: Let me begin with a stylized contrast between two ways of thinking about morality. On the one hand, morality can be understood as the dictate of, or uncovered by, impartial reason. That which is (truly) moral must be capable of being verified by everyone’s reasoning from a suitably impartial perspective. If we are to respect the free and equal nature of each person, each must (in some sense) rationally validate the requirements of morality. If we take this view, the genuine requirements of morality are a matter of rational reflection and self-imposed law. For Kant it seemed to be a matter of reflection by a rational individual, testing the impartiality of his maxims. For Rousseau, who was an important influence on Kant, under the proper conditions collective deliberation could yield impartial rules of justice that are willed by all. From another point of view moralities are social facts with histories. The heroes of this tradition are Hume, Ferguson and, perhaps surprisingly given his “deductive” method, Hobbes. The moral codes — or if “code” implies too much systematization, moral “practices” — we have ended up with are, to some extent, a matter of chance. This is by no means to say that morality is entirely arbitrary, but it does contain a significant arbitrary element. The morality we have ended up with is path-dependent: only because our moral codes have started somewhere, and have changed in response to unanticipated events, can we explain why we ended up where we have, and different societies end up in different places. The proponents of each view typically seek to discredit the other. Those who conceive of morality as the demand of impartial reason often insist the evolutionists confuse “positive morality” (the moral code that people actually follow) with justified (or true) morality, which is revealed by impartial reason. The positive morality that has evolved is simply what people think is morality, not what really is morality..
Abstract: The Evolution of Morality attempts to accomplish two tasks. The first is to clarify and provisionally advocate the thesis that human morality is a distinct adaptation wrought by biological natural selection. The second is to inquire whether this empirical thesis would, if true, have any metaethical implications
Abstract: Evolutionary debunking arguments (EDAs) are arguments that appeal to the evolutionary origins of certain evaluative beliefs to undermines their justification. This paper aims to clarify the premises and presuppositions of EDAs—a form of argument that is increasingly put to use in normative ethics. I show that EDAs are merely instances of a familiar form of argument commonly used in both evaluative and non-evaluative contexts. It’s often overlooked, however, that EDAs presuppose the truth of metaethical objectivism. More importantly, even if objectivism is assumed, the use of EDAs in normative ethics is incompatible with the parallel and more sweeping metaethical argument recently put forward by Joyce and Street. After examining several ways of responding to this global evolutionary argument, I end by arguing that even if we could resist it, this would still not rehabilitate the current targeted use of EDAs in normative ethics given that, if EDAs work at all, they will in any case lead to a truly radical revision of our evaluative outlook.
Abstract: Darwin argued for the biological basis of morality in his Descent of Man (1871). Beginning with the thesis of the continuity of man and animals, he tried to explain the origin of the moral sense, or conscience, as understood as an ability to discern right and wrong, and to feel guilty if one realizes to have done wrong. His argument is that, in any animal with social instincts and sufficient intellectual powers, a moral sense would be developed. Although Darwin's argument had some missing links, I try to show that his argument can be consistently reconstructed, in view of the recent development of evolutionary biology and behavioral ecology. As I understand, Darwin's basic tenet is reductionism via evolutionary processes (natural selection, in particular): morality can be reduced to a combination of non-moral factors, each of which can be shared with other animals; you do not have to assume that morality is sui generis