The Biology of Moral Systems

Front Cover
Transaction Publishers, 1987 - 301 pages
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I read this book about 20 years ago and it still resonates. It was written before the current fad for evolutionary psychology and brilliantly anticipates some of the key ideas of that later movement ... Read full review

Contents

BIOLOGY AND THE BACKGROUND OF MORAL SYSTEMS
2
Sociobiology and Ideology
5
Meanings and Misinterpretations
7
Proximate Causes and the Reductionism of Evolutionary Biology
14
The Problem of Culture
22
The Problem of Resistance to SelfUnderstanding
31
What Lifetimes Are About
34
What Are Human Interests?
35
Introduction
131
Kohlbergs Stages with an Evolutionary Hypothesis for Each
132
General Conclusions
140
MORALITY AS SEEN BY PHILOSOPHERS AND BIOLOGISTS
146
The Moral Philosophers
147
Misunderstandings of Reciprocity
154
Proximate and Ultimate Mechanisms and SelfSacrifice
162
The BiologistPhilosophers
165

Life Interests as Reproductive
38
Lifetimes as Effort
41
Why Lifetimes Are Finite
43
The Older Theories of Senescence
44
Williams Pleiotropic Theory of Senescence
47
The Nature and Extent of Pleiotropy
50
The General Shapes of Mortality Curves
53
The Effect of Mortality Rates on Senescence
54
Male and Female Mortality
55
Semelparity Iteroparity and Senescence
57
Parental Care and Offspring Replacement
60
The Wonderful OneHoss Shay Effect
62
Summary
64
Genetic Individuality and Individuality of Interests
65
How They Evolved
66
Other Special Cases of Cooperation
70
Monogamy and Reproductive Opportunity Leveling
72
Conflicts of Interest and Deception in Communication
74
A BIOLOGICAL VIEW OF MORALITY
78
Why Do Humans Live in Groups?
80
The Atoms of Sociality
82
Philosophy and Conflicts of Interest
89
Moral Systems as Systems of Indirect Reciprocity
94
Where Do Rules Come From
97
Discriminate and Indiscriminate Beneficence
98
Morality and the Human Psyche
108
Hypothesis About the Evolution of Consciousness
111
Consciousness and Deception
115
SelfDeception
118
Myths and SelfImages
127
Life History Theory and the Ontogeny of Moral Behavior
130
The Naturalistic Fallacy
166
Darwins Group Selection Theory and Fishers Alternative
169
T H Huxley and Morality as Contrary to Evolution
171
Darwin Keith and Human Evolution in Groups
172
The Philosophers of Biology
178
Morality and Law
181
Morality and Democracy
187
The Goal of Universal Beneficence
191
Summary
194
Conclusions
195
APPLYING THE BIOLOGICAL VIEW OF MORALITY
198
God and Science as TruthSeeking
201
Summarizing Hypotheses
208
Modeling Value Systems and Maintaining Indirect Reciprocity
209
The Rights of Women and Men
217
The Rights of Children and Parents
222
The Perils of Error and Unrecognized Biases
223
Conclusions
227
Arms Races Human and Otherwise
228
Are There Precedents for Arms Race Resolutions?
232
Proposed Solutions to the International Arms Race
234
Knowledge of the Physical Universe Ignorance of the Social One
238
Deception and Misinformation
240
Partial Brakes on the Arms Race
241
CONCLUSIONS
254
Epilogue
260
Bibliography
266
Name Index
282
Subject Index
288
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