Evolutionary Ethics: Understanding its Transition

Journal of the Indian Council of Philosophical Research 41 (1):63-82 (2024)
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Abstract

This paper offers a descriptive account of the transition in evolutionary ethics with reference to some major works from ethics, sociobiology, moral psychology, and primatology. The causes and nature of the transition are discussed by making a distinction between traditional and recent trends in evolutionary ethics enabling us to understand the significance of contemporary evolutionary ethics. The study is gradually directed toward a crucial question of ethics that is the place of reason in morality and what evolutionary ethics implies for Kantian ethics in the question of reason. Many advocates of evolutionary ethics and evolutionary moral psychology claim that reason plays no role or plays a very insignificant role in morality. Such assertion often leads to a rejection of Kantian ethics in particular and cognitivism in general. In this backdrop, the scope of reconciling evolutionary ethics with Kantian ethics as proposed by Frederick Rauscher is analyzed. This paper is thus an attempt to expose the significance of evolutionary ethics with reference to the relation of reason and morality.

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Ikbal Hussain Ahmed
Tezpur University

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