Evolutionary Ethics and Contemporary Biology (Cambridge Studies in Philosophy and Biology)
How can the discoveries made in the biological sciences play a role in a discussion on the foundation of ethics? This book responds to this question by examining how evolutionism can explain and justify the existence of ethical normativity and the emergence of particular moral systems. Written by a team of philosophers and scientists, the essays collected in this volume deal with the limits of evolutionary explanations, the justifications of ethics, and methodological issues concerning evolutionary accounts of ethics, among other topics. They offer deep insights into the origin and purpose of human moral capacities and of moral systems.
“noninstinctual” a kind of behavioral phenotype seems also acceptable. In addition, it should be noted that it is well known that physical phenotypes are plastic, that is, that there are norms of reaction, in virtue of which a given genotype can express different physical phenotypes in different environmental conditions (cf. Futuyma 1979; Ridley 2004). Once the existence of behavioral phenotypic traits is accepted, it seems plausible to conclude that behavioral phenotypes must also be plastic.
at 40 kya. It is unclear whether the two forms repeatedly replaced one another by migration from other regions or whether they coexisted in the same areas. Recent genetic evidence indicates that interbreeding between sapiens and neanderthalensis never occurred. The origin of anatomically modern humans is controversial. Some anthropologists argue that the transition from H. erectus to archaic H. sapiens and later to anatomically modern humans occurred consonantly in various parts of the Old World.
between 38 and 18 kya (and, probably, until 12 kya), well after individuals of our species, H. sapiens, were living in other parts of Australasia. humankind’s distinctive traits Erect posture and large brain are the two most conspicuous human anatomical traits. We are the only vertebrate species with a bipedal gait and erect posture; birds are bipedal, but their backbone stands horizontal rather than vertical (penguins are a minor exception). Brain size is generally proportional to body 143
her partially paralyzed mother, Madam Bee. Throughout the day, Little Bee often lagged far behind other members of the troop as she adjusted her gait to Madam Bee’s pace; she would forage for fruit and carefully present half her harvest to her mother. Here again, there 8 9 One source of complications arises from situations in which A can respond to the perceived preferences (needs, interests) of one of two others but not to those of both. Would we prefer that A have a consistent tendency to
the final state. It is tempting to think of this as consisting of a rather abstract inhibition 19 My proposal here is akin to that offered by Allan Gibbard (1990), although, unlike him, I am not concerned to distinguish being guided by a norm from being in the grip of a norm. 173 Philip Kitcher device: the aversive emotion will be generated in certain contexts with respect to certain prospective actions, and that emotion will weaken the preference for those actions; but what these actions