Understanding Moral Sentiments : Darwinian Perspectives? book cover
1st Edition

Understanding Moral Sentiments
Darwinian Perspectives?

ISBN 9781138517622
Published September 14, 2017 by Routledge
280 Pages

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Book Description

This volume brings together leading scholars to examine Darwinian perspectives on morality from widely ranging disciplines: evolutionary biology, anthropology, psychology, philosophy, and theology. They bring not only varied expertise, but also contrasting judgments about which, and to what extent, differing evolutionary accounts explain morality. They also consider the implications of these explanations for a range of religious and non-religious moral traditions.

The book first surveys scientific understandings of morality. Chapters by Joan Silk and Christopher Boehm ask what primatology and anthropology tell us about moral origins. Daniel Batson and Stephen Pinker provide contrasting accounts of how evolution shapes moral psychology, and Jeffrey Schloss assesses a range of biological proposals for morality and altruism. Turning to philosophical issues, Martha Nussbaum argues that recognizing our animal nature does not threaten morality. Stephen Pope and Timothy Jackson explore how Darwinian accounts of moral goodness both enrich and require understandings outside the sciences. Hilary Putnam and Susan Neiman ask whether Darwin is truly useful for helping us to understand what morality actually is and how it functions.

The book is a balanced effort to assess the scientific merits and philosophical significance of emerging Darwinian perspectives on morality.

Table of Contents


The Roots of Prosocial Preferences
Joan B. Silk

Defining the Evolutionary Conscience: Finishing a Job that Darwin Started
Christopher Boehm

Are the "Principles in His Nature, Which Interest Him in the Fortune of Others," Moral?
C. Daniel Batson

The Moral Instinct
Steven Pinker

Darwinian Explanations of Morality: Accounting for the Normal but Not the Normative
Jeffrey P. Schloss

Compassion: Human and Animal
Martha C. Nussbaum

Moral Decision Making: Interpreters of Darwin and Thomas Aquinas
Stephen J. Pope

Thirty-Five Years among the Genes: A Twainian Take on Moral Anthropology and Reductive Biology
Timothy P. Jackson

Not Very Much
Hilary Putnam

Setting Aside Facts
Susan Neiman

On the Partnership between Natural and Moral Philosophy
David C. Lahti

List of Contributors


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