Tuesday, March 5, 2024 at 4:45pm to 5:45pm
Moral Psychology Hybrid Speaker Series
Associate Professor of Philosophy
Theories of the evolution of morality often take their primary evidence from what we call no pressure cases, such as the free offering of a good between nonhuman animals. These are examples of behavior in which there could be no social pressure at all on the helper. Cases like this have been important because of the presumption that the main challenge to the evolution of morality is to solve the problem of altruism; a consequence of this fixation being that behaviors are interpreted as selfish unless there is no way they could come from anything but an altruistic motivation. This biases evidence and, we suggest, puts the thumb on the scale for the broadly sentimentalist theories that dominate the literature. We suggest a research program that sets the problem of altruism aside, and studies cases of demand sharing. Cases like this may involve mixed motives on the part of the helper. But this makes for a richer mine of evidence, linking in more behaviors, psychological capacities, and patterns of social organization across a broader range of species. It also, potentially, opens up the exploration of other moral theories in evolutionary terms, which stress mixed motives as central to morality.
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Meeting ID: 959 4957 4781