Evolutionary ethics and biologically supportable morality

Proceedings of Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy, PAIDEIA: Philosophy Educating Humanity (1999)
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Abstract

Consider the paradox of altruism: the existence of truly altruistic behaviors is difficult to reconcile with evolutionary theory if natural selection operates only on individuals, since in that case individuals should be unwilling to sacrifice their own fitness for the sake of others. Evolutionists have frequently turned to the hypothesis of group selection to explain the existence of altruism; but group selection cannot explain the evolution of morality, since morality is a one-group phenomenon and group selection is a many-group phenomenon. After spelling out just what the problem is, this paper discusses several ways of solving it.

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Michael Byron
Kent State University

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