Our primary aim in this paper is to sketch a cognitive evolutionary approach for developing explanations of social change that is anchored on the psychological mechanisms underlying normative cognition and the transmission of social norms. We throw the relevant features of this approach into relief by comparing it with the self-fulfilling social expectations account developed by Bicchieri and colleagues. After describing both accounts, we argue that the two approaches are largely compatible, but that the cognitive evolutionary approach is well- suited (...) to encompass much of the social expectations view, whose focus on a narrow range of norms comes at the expense of the breadth the cognitive evolutionary approach can provide. (shrink)
The vast literature on negative treatment of outgroups and favoritism toward ingroups provides many local insights but is largely fragmented, lacking an overarching framework that might provide a unified overview and guide conceptual integration. As a result, it remains unclear where different local perspectives conflict, how they may reinforce one another, and where they leave gaps in our knowledge of the phenomena. Our aim is to start constructing a framework to help remedy this situation. We first identify a few key (...) ideas for creating a theoretical roadmap for this complex territory, namely the principles of etiological functionalism and the dual inheritance theory of human evolution. We show how a “molecular” approach to emotions fits into this picture, and use it to illuminate emotions that shape intergroup relations. Finally, we weave the pieces together into the beginnings of a systematic taxonomy of the emotions involved in social interactions, both hostile and friendly. While it is but a start, we have developed the argument in a way that illustrates how the foundational principles of our proposed framework can be extended to accommodate further cases. (shrink)
Sustainability science seeks to extend scientific investigation into domains characterized by a distinct problem-solving agenda, physical and social complexity, and complex moral and ethical landscapes. In this endeavor it arguably pushes scientific investigation beyond its usual comfort zones, raising fundamental issues about how best to structure such investigation. Philosophers of science have long scrutinized the structure of science and scientific practices, and the conditions under which they operate effectively. We propose a critical engagement between sustainability scientists and philosophers of science (...) with respect to how to engage in scientific activity in these complex domains. We identify specific issues philosophers of science raise concerning current sustainability science and the contributions philosophers can make to resolving them. In conclusion we reflect on the steps philosophers of science could take to advance sustainability science. (shrink)
Standard methods in experimental philosophy have sought to measure folk intuitions using experiments, but certain limitations are inherent in experimental methods. Accordingly, we have designed the Free-Will Intuitions Scale to empirically measure folk intuitions relevant to free-will debates using a different method. This method reveals what folk intuitions are like prior to participants' being put in forced-choice experiments. Our results suggest that a central debate in the experimental philosophy of free will—the “natural” compatibilism debate—is mistaken in assuming that folk intuitions (...) are exclusively either compatibilist or incompatibilist. They also identify a number of important new issues in the empirical study of free-will intuitions. (shrink)
Moral realists often assume that folk intuitions are predominantly realist, and they argue that this places the burden of proof on antirealists. More broadly, appeals to intuition in metaethics typically assume that folk judgments are generally consistent across individuals, such that they are at least predominantly something, if not realist. A substantial body of empirical work on moral objectivism has investigated these assumptions, but findings remain inconclusive due to methodological limitations. Objectivist judgments classify individuals into broad categories of realism and (...) antirealism, but they do not address more specific conflicts in the metaethical literature between different types of realism and antirealism, such as between nonnaturalism and divine command theory, or between noncognitivism and error theory. Further, the data currently show that the folk are objectivists about some moral claims but not others, raising questions that have not been addressed in previous studies about how much of the moral domain is judged to be objective, and about how endorsements of different types of realism and antirealism are distributed among different types of moral claims. Here, I present a new survey that addresses these limitations. The results challenge both of the empirical assumptions identified above, with important implications for metaethical methodology. (shrink)
In recent years, there has been an increase in environmental awareness in the United States, leading to steady growth in environmentally conscious consumerism. Looking specifically at green home marketing, understanding the consumer behavior of the next generation of homebuyers, Generation Z, is important for environmental and business reasons. This study surveyed 116 university students to explore the influence of specific barriers and types of motivation on their perceptions of green homes. Our findings suggest certain barriers have more influence on GenZ (...) consumers than others, with the perceived lack of choice in selecting Green Home Features as the top barrier, followed by a lack of information about GHFs, and then the perceived effort to analyze GHFs. Furthermore, for GenZ consumers, intrinsic and non-normative motivations seem to significantly affect their willingness to buy green homes, whereas instrumental motivation does not. Our findings expand on previous studies on green consumer behavior to provide a new benchmark for understanding GenZ’s consumer behavior, specifically towards green homes. Our results can be used by marketers and policymakers to study future home trends, attract more potential buyers to green homes, and help create a sustainable environment for future generations. (shrink)
In the scientific literature on religious evolution, two competing theories appeal to group selection to explain the relationship between religious belief and altruism, or costly, prosocial behavior. Both theories agree that group selection plays an important role in cultural evolution, affecting psychological traits that individuals acquire through social learning. They disagree, however, about whether group selection has also played a role in genetic evolution, affecting traits that are inherited genetically. Recently, Jonathan Haidt has defended the most fully developed account based (...) on genetic group selection, and I argue here that problems with this account reveal good reasons to doubt that genetic group selection has played any important role in human evolution at all. Thus, considering the role of group selection in religious evolution is important not just because of what it reveals about religious psychology and religious evolution, but also because of what it reveals about the role of group selection in human evolution more generally. (shrink)
In our paper, “The Free-Will Intuitions Scale and the question of natural compatibilism” , we seek to advance empirical debates about free will by measuring the relevant folk intuitions using the scale methodology of psychology, as a supplement to standard experimental methods. Stephen Morris raises a number of concerns about our paper. Here, we respond to Morris's concerns.
Smaldino's (2014) proposed extension of the theory of cultural evolution embraces emergent group-level traits. We argue, instead, that group-level traits reduce to the traits of individuals, particularly when it comes to the question of how group-level traits are inherited or transmitted, and that this metaphysical fact is integral to the theory of cultural evolution.
The literature on the evolution of religion has been divided by a fundamental debate between adaptation theories, which explain religious traits as products of selection for religion, and byproduct theories, which explain religious traits as products of selection for other, non-religious functions. Recently, however, a new position has emerged in this debate, as an influential new theory based on cultural selection claims to integrate adaptation theories with byproduct theories, yielding a single, unified account. I argue that the proponents of this (...) view do not say enough about how integration is actually supposed to work, from a logical point of view. Basic questions arise from the assumptions required for unifying these apparently conflicting approaches, which the authors of the account do not address. In response to these questions, I provide a model of the religious phenotype, the Goldberg Exaptation Model, which shows that adaptation and byproduct theories are consistent, and explains how they are positively related, over and above mere consistency. On this view, the religious phenotype is best understood on analogy with a Rube Goldberg device: it is assembled by selection for religion, but using parts designed by selection for other, non-religious functions. (shrink)