Foundations of a Neo-Darwinian Approach to Morality

Dennis L. Krebs

in The Origins of Morality

Published in print August 2011 | ISBN: 9780199778232
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199897261 | DOI:
Foundations of a Neo-Darwinian Approach to Morality

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In this chapter, three refinements in Darwin’s theory of evolution and three criticisms of evolutionary approaches to human behavior that have important implications for morality are discussed. The first refinement stems from the discovery that genes constitute the primary unit of inheritance. The second stems from the models of social evolution developed by game theorists, and the third stems from the use of evolutionary theory in deciphering the design of proximate mental mechanisms. Evolutionary approaches to human behavior have been falsely accused of advocating a strong form of genetic determinism and neglecting the role played by the environment in the determination of social behaviors, of assuming that all evolved traits are adaptive, and of making up “just so” stories to account for the evolution of traits.

Keywords: Darwin; theory of evolution; genes; proximate; mental mechanisms; genetic determinism; adaptive; just so stories

Chapter.  8313 words. 

Subjects: Psychology

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