Chapter

Moral Evolution

Shaun Nichols

in Sentimental Rules

Published in print September 2004 | ISBN: 9780195169348
Published online January 2005 | e-ISBN: 9780199835041 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0195169344.003.0007
 Moral Evolution

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This chapter turns to the genealogy of “harm norms,” norms against causing pain and suffering to others. The chapter sets out a range of historical and anthropological facts that need to be captured by a genealogy of harm norms. In particular, an adequate genealogy needs to explain the broad similarities and differences in harm norms across cultures and the characteristic evolution of harm norms. One prominent explanation for these facts appeals to moral progress. This chapter proposes an alternative account of the genealogy of norms that draws on the central thesis of chapter 6, that norms which resonate with our emotions will be more likely to survive.

Keywords: affective resonance; cultural evolution; cultural variation; harm norms; moral progress; moral realism

Chapter.  11420 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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