Pluralism and Ambivalence in the Evolution of Morality

Zygon 38 (2):333-354 (2003)
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Abstract

Much good work has been done on the evolution of human morality by focusing on how “selfish genes‘ can give rise to altruistic human beings. A richer research program is needed, however, to take into account the ambivalence of naturally evolved biopsychological motivators and the historical pluralism of human morality in religious systems. Such a program is described here. A first step is to distinguish the ultimate cause of natural selection from proximate causes that are the results of natural selection. Next, some proximate causes are suggested as possible conditions of biological and emotional valuing as well as of customary social morality and individual rational ethical thought. Finally, different moral perspectives of Confucianism, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Christianity are briefly presented in order to illustrate how one might inquire about the selection of a variety of biopsychological and cultural proximate causes that enable the evolution of a plurality of religious moral systems

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Darwinism and Human Affairs.Michael Ruse - 1981 - Philosophy of Science 48 (4):627-628.
The Wisdom of the Body.Walter B. Cannon - 1933 - International Journal of Ethics 43 (2):234-235.

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