Understanding Moral Sentiments: Darwinian Perspectives?

1st Edition

Hilary Putnam

Published September 14, 2017
Reference - 273 Pages
ISBN 9781138517622 - CAT# Y373808

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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.


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