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Record identifier : 569843
Personal Name - Primary Intelectual Responsibility : Sherman-Peterson, Sven Gareth
Title and statement of responsibility : Implications of evolutionary biology for metaethics and moral objectivity [Thesis]
Publication, Distribution,Etc. : Georgetown University, 2003
Language of the Item : eng
Dissertation of thesis details and type of degree : Ph.D.
Body granting the degree : , Georgetown University
Summary or Abstract : Ever since Darwin first published his theory of biological evolution, thinkers in many disciplines have debated its implications or lack thereof for human ethics. Early, crude attempts at drawing a link, such as those made by the Social Darwinists, have been discarded. However, the past several decades have seen a resurgence of interest in the subject. Those working to link evolution and ethics have included E. O. Wilson and his sociobiologists, evolutionary psychologists, as well as some naturalist moral realists. While I agree that evolutionary biology has important implications for ethics, I argue that the projects developed thus far have focused on the wrong level of specificity. The position I argue for in this dissertation is broadly Humean. Using considerations from evolutionary biology, evolutionary psychology, genetics, and game theory, I develop and update Mackie's thesis that claims to moral objectivity are in error. I argue that evolutionary biology has important implications for metaethics and for descriptive theories of ethics, but that critics of earlier projects in evolutionary ethics are correct to claim that the theory of biological evolution has no normative implications. I reject moral realism and Kantian theories of ethics, and I argue that human beings must be understood as a part of the animal world. Our sentiments and powers of reason are continuous with those of other species, and human morality should be understood in light of the socially strategic behavior manifest in other social species. The ultimate foundation of human moral systems is our social instincts, though we develop complex codes of artificial virtues which vary from society to society. Morality is a devise for overcoming our limited sympathies which makes it possible for human beings to cooperate in much larger numbers and much more effectively than other animals. However, because of these limited sympathies and our tendency toward group competition, human moral codes also tend to reflect the interests of the powerful and to discount those of people not considered members of the group..
Topical Name Used as Subject : Philosophy
Information of biblio record : TL
 
 
 
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