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A Better Ape: The Evolution of the Moral Mind and How it Made Us Human

New York, NY: Oxford University Press. Edited by Richmond Campbell (2022)

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  1. Social norms and superorganisms.Rachell Powell - 2023 - Biology and Philosophy 38 (3):1-25.
    Normativity is widely regarded as the ability to make evaluative judgments based on a shared system of social norms. When normativity is viewed through the cognitively demanding lens of human morality, however, the prospect of finding social norms innonhuman animals rapidly dwindles and common causal structures are overlooked. In this paper, I develop a biofunctionalist account of social normativity and examine its implications for how we ought to conceptualize, explain, and study social norms in the wild. I propose that we (...)
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  • Moral Progress for Better Apes.Joshua May - 2023 - Biology and Philosophy 38 (4):1-13.
    The evolutionary model of moral progress developed in A Better Ape is nuanced and illuminating. Kumar and Campbell use their view of the evolved moral mind to analyze clear cases of increased inclusivity and equality (at least in Western society). Their analyses elucidate the psychological and social mechanisms that can drive moral progress (or regress). In this commentary, I raise three main concerns about their model: that factors other than social integration are more central to progress; that their model isn’t (...)
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  • A more thought-ful ape?Mara Bollard - 2023 - Biology and Philosophy 38 (4):1-12.
    In A Better Ape, Victor Kumar and Richmond Campbell (2022) provide an ambitious and compelling history of the evolution of human morality. Informed by evidence from an impressively vast multidisciplinary literature, they offer a rich bio-cultural evolutionary explanation of how the human moral mind arose and developed over time that has wide appeal for philosophers and scientists alike. In this paper, I examine Kumar and Campbell’s novel moral psychology and raise questions about their account of the relationship between moral norms (...)
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  • In search of animal normativity: a framework for studying social norms in non-human animals.Evan Westra, Simon Fitzpatrick, Sarah F. Brosnan, Thibaud Gruber, Catherine Hobaiter, Lydia M. Hopper, Daniel Kelly, Christopher Krupenye, Lydia V. Luncz, Jordan Theriault & Kristin Andrews - forthcoming - Biological Reviews.
    Social norms – rules governing which behaviours are deemed appropriate or inappropriate within a given community – are typically taken to be uniquely human. Recently, this position has been challenged by a number of philosophers, cognitive scientists, and ethologists, who have suggested that social norms may also be found in certain non-human animal communities. Such claims have elicited considerable scepticism from norm cognition researchers, who doubt that any non-human animals possess the psychological capacities necessary for normative cognition. However, there is (...)
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  • Varieties of moral motivation: Empirical perspectives.Mark Alfano - forthcoming - In David Copp & Connie Rosati (eds.), Oxford Handbook of Ethical Theory. Oxford University Press.
    This chapter examines three recent empirical approaches to the study of moral motivation: moral foundations theory, deep pragmatism, and morality-as-cooperation. All three approaches conceptualize moral motivation as a suite of desires, emotions, sentiments, dispositions, values, and relationships that move people to think, judge, and act in accordance with morality. Moral foundations theory posits five or six basic foundations: care, fairness, loyalty, authority, sanctity, and sometimes liberty. People are thought to be emotionally attuned to each foundation, though some are more sensitive (...)
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