The Origins of Fairness

How Evolution Explains Our Moral Nature

Author: Nicolas Baumard

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0190210230

Category: Philosophy

Page: 360

View: 4749

In order to describe the logic of morality, "contractualist" philosophers have studied how individuals behave when they choose to follow their moral intuitions. These individuals, contractualists note, often act as if they have bargained and thus reached an agreement with others about how to distribute the benefits and burdens of mutual cooperation. Using this observation, such philosophers argue that the purpose of morality is to maximize the benefits of human interaction. The resulting "contract" analogy is both insightful and puzzling. On one hand, it captures the pattern of moral intuitions, thus answering questions about human cooperation: why do humans cooperate? Why should the distribution of benefits be proportionate to each person's contribution? Why should the punishment be proportionate to the crime? Why should the rights be proportionate to the duties? On the other hand, the analogy provides a mere as-if explanation for human cooperation, saying that cooperation is "as if" people have passed a contract-but since they didn't, why should it be so? To evolutionary thinkers, the puzzle of the missing contract is immediately reminiscent of the puzzle of the missing "designer" of life-forms, a puzzle that Darwin's theory of natural selection essentially resolved. Evolutionary and contractualist theory originally intersected at the work of philosophers John Rawls and David Gauthier, who argued that moral judgments are based on a sense of fairness that has been naturally selected. In this book, Nicolas Baumard further explores the theory that morality was originally an adaptation to the biological market of cooperation, an arena in which individuals competed to be selected for cooperative interactions. In this environment, Baumard suggests, the best strategy was to treat others with impartiality and to share the costs and benefits of cooperation in a fair way, so that those who offered less than others were left out of cooperation while those who offered more were exploited by their partners. It is with this evolutionary approach that Baumard ultimately accounts for the specific structure of human morality.
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Just Babies

The Origins of Good and Evil

Author: Paul Bloom

Publisher: Crown

ISBN: 0307886867

Category: Psychology

Page: 288

View: 7564

A leading cognitive scientist argues that a deep sense of good and evil is bred in the bone. From John Locke to Sigmund Freud, philosophers and psychologists have long believed that we begin life as blank moral slates. Many of us take for granted that babies are born selfish and that it is the role of society—and especially parents—to transform them from little sociopaths into civilized beings. In Just Babies, Paul Bloom argues that humans are in fact hardwired with a sense of morality. Drawing on groundbreaking research at Yale, Bloom demonstrates that, even before they can speak or walk, babies judge the goodness and badness of others’ actions; feel empathy and compassion; act to soothe those in distress; and have a rudimentary sense of justice. Still, this innate morality is limited, sometimes tragically. We are naturally hostile to strangers, prone to parochialism and bigotry. Bringing together insights from psychology, behavioral economics, evolutionary biology, and philosophy, Bloom explores how we have come to surpass these limitations. Along the way, he examines the morality of chimpanzees, violent psychopaths, religious extremists, and Ivy League professors, and explores our often puzzling moral feelings about sex, politics, religion, and race. In his analysis of the morality of children and adults, Bloom rejects the fashionable view that our moral decisions are driven mainly by gut feelings and unconscious biases. Just as reason has driven our great scientific discoveries, he argues, it is reason and deliberation that makes possible our moral discoveries, such as the wrongness of slavery. Ultimately, it is through our imagination, our compassion, and our uniquely human capacity for rational thought that we can transcend the primitive sense of morality we were born with, becoming more than just babies. Paul Bloom has a gift for bringing abstract ideas to life, moving seamlessly from Darwin, Herodotus, and Adam Smith to The Princess Bride, Hannibal Lecter, and Louis C.K. Vivid, witty, and intellectually probing, Just Babies offers a radical new perspective on our moral lives. From the Hardcover edition.
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The Origins of Justice

The Evolution of Morality, Human Rights, and Law

Author: John O'Manique

Publisher: University of Pennsylvania Press

ISBN: 9780812237061

Category: Law

Page: 206

View: 8639

Offers a more benign view than that of Thomas Hobbes and later followers of the origins of the social contract. "A scholarly tour de force that situates the development of justice in relationships, beginning with the foundational human relationships of mother and child."—Riane Eisler, author of The Chalice and the Blade
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Moral Markets

The Critical Role of Values in the Economy

Author: Paul J. Zak

Publisher: Princeton University Press

ISBN: 9781400837366

Category: Business & Economics

Page: 392

View: 3962

Like nature itself, modern economic life is driven by relentless competition and unbridled selfishness. Or is it? Drawing on converging evidence from neuroscience, social science, biology, law, and philosophy, Moral Markets makes the case that modern market exchange works only because most people, most of the time, act virtuously. Competition and greed are certainly part of economics, but Moral Markets shows how the rules of market exchange have evolved to promote moral behavior and how exchange itself may make us more virtuous. Examining the biological basis of economic morality, tracing the connections between morality and markets, and exploring the profound implications of both, Moral Markets provides a surprising and fundamentally new view of economics--one that also reconnects the field to Adam Smith's position that morality has a biological basis. Moral Markets, the result of an extensive collaboration between leading social and natural scientists, includes contributions by neuroeconomist Paul Zak; economists Robert H. Frank, Herbert Gintis, Vernon Smith (winner of the 2002 Nobel Prize in economics), and Bart Wilson; law professors Oliver Goodenough, Erin O'Hara, and Lynn Stout; philosophers William Casebeer and Robert Solomon; primatologists Sarah Brosnan and Frans de Waal; biologists Carl Bergstrom, Ben Kerr, and Peter Richerson; anthropologists Robert Boyd and Michael Lachmann; political scientists Elinor Ostrom and David Schwab; management professor Rakesh Khurana; computational science and informatics doctoral candidate Erik Kimbrough; and business writer Charles Handy.
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A Natural History of Human Morality

Author: Michael Tomasello

Publisher: Harvard University Press

ISBN: 0674915879

Category: Psychology

Page: 206

View: 7848

Michael Tomasello offers the most detailed account to date of the evolution of human moral psychology. Based on experimental data comparing great apes and human children, he reconstructs two key evolutionary steps whereby early humans gradually became an ultra-cooperative and, eventually, a moral species capable of acting as a plural agent “we”.
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The Righteous Mind

Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion

Author: Jonathan Haidt

Publisher: Vintage

ISBN: 0307455777

Category: Philosophy

Page: 500

View: 3880

Presents a groundbreaking investigation into the origins of morality at the core of religion and politics, offering scholarly insight into the motivations behind cultural clashes that are polarizing America.
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The Fair Society

The Science of Human Nature and the Pursuit of Social Justice

Author: Peter Corning

Publisher: University of Chicago Press

ISBN: 0226116301

Category: Science

Page: 256

View: 3996

We’ve been told, again and again, that life is unfair. But what if we’re wrong simply to resign ourselves to this situation? What if we have the power—and more, the duty—to change society for the better? We do. And our very nature inclines us to do so. That’s the provocative argument Peter Corning makes in The Fair Society. Drawing on the evidence from our evolutionary history and the emergent science of human nature, Corning shows that we have an innate sense of fairness. While these impulses can easily be subverted by greed and demagoguery, they can also be harnessed for good. Corning brings together the latest findings from the behavioral and biological sciences to help us understand how to move beyond the Madoffs and Enrons in our midst in order to lay the foundation for a new social contract—a Biosocial Contract built on a deep understanding of human nature and a commitment to fairness. He then proposes a sweeping set of economic and political reforms based on three principles of fairness—equality, equity, and reciprocity—that together could transform our society and our world. At this crisis point for capitalism, Corning reveals that the proper response to bank bailouts and financial chicanery isn’t to get mad—it’s to get fair.
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Intuitions of Justice and the Utility of Desert

Author: Paul H. Robinson

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0199344191

Category: Law

Page: 584

View: 4732

Research suggests that people of all demographics have nuanced and sophisticated notions of justice. The core of those judgments is often intuition rather than reason. Should the criminal law heed what principles are embodied in those deep seated judgments? In Intuitions of Justice and the Utility of Desert, Paul H. Robinson demonstrates that criminal law rules that deviate from public conceptions of justice and desert can seriously undermine the American criminal justice system's integrity and credibility by failing to recognize or meet the needs of the communities it serves. Professor Robinson sketches the contours of a wide range of lay conceptions of what criminals justly deserve, touching upon many issues that penal code drafters or policy makers must face, including normative crime control, culpability, grading, sentencing, justification and excuse defenses, principles of adjudication, and judicial discretion. He warns that compromising the American criminal justice system to satisfy other interests can uncover the hidden costs incurred when a community's notions about justice are not reflected in its criminal laws. Intuitions of Justice and the Utility of Desert shows that by ignoring the views of justice held by the communities they serve, legislators, policymakers, and judges undermine the relevance of the criminal justice system and reduce its strength and credibility, creating a gap between what justice a community needs and what justice a court or law prescribes.
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Primates and Philosophers

How Morality Evolved

Author: Frans de Waal

Publisher: Princeton University Press

ISBN: 9781400830336

Category: Science

Page: 232

View: 5622

Can virtuous behavior be explained by nature, and not by human rational choice? "It's the animal in us," we often hear when we've been bad. But why not when we're good? Primates and Philosophers tackles this question by exploring the biological foundations of one of humanity's most valued traits: morality. In this provocative book, renowned primatologist Frans de Waal argues that modern-day evolutionary biology takes far too dim a view of the natural world, emphasizing our "selfish" genes and reinforcing our habit of labeling ethical behavior as humane and the less civilized as animalistic. Seeking the origin of human morality not in evolution but in human culture, science insists that we are moral by choice, not by nature. Citing remarkable evidence based on his extensive research of primate behavior, de Waal attacks "Veneer Theory," which posits morality as a thin overlay on an otherwise nasty nature. He explains how we evolved from a long line of animals that care for the weak and build cooperation with reciprocal transactions. Drawing on Darwin, recent scientific advances, and his extensive research of primate behavior, de Waal demonstrates a strong continuity between human and animal behavior. He probes issues such as anthropomorphism and human responsibilities toward animals. His compelling account of how human morality evolved out of mammalian society will fascinate anyone who has ever wondered about the origins and reach of human goodness. Based on the Tanner Lectures de Waal delivered at Princeton University's Center for Human Values in 2004, Primates and Philosophers includes responses by the philosophers Peter Singer, Christine M. Korsgaard, and Philip Kitcher and the science writer Robert Wright. They press de Waal to clarify the differences between humans and other animals, yielding a lively debate that will fascinate all those who wonder about the origins and reach of human goodness.
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Natural Justice

Author: Ken Binmore

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 9780198039648

Category: Political Science

Page: 224

View: 4069

This book lays out foundations for a "science of morals." Binmore uses game theory as a systematic tool for investigating ethical matters. He reinterprets classical social contract ideas within a game-theory framework and generates new insights into the fundamental questions of social philosophy. In contrast to the previous writing in moral philosophy that relied on vague notion such as " societal well-being" and "moral duty," Binmore begins with individuals; rational decision-makers with the ability to empathize with one another. Any social arrangement that prescribes them to act against their interests will become unstable and eventually will be replaced by another, until one is found that includes worthwhile actions for all individuals involved.
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Stead's Review

Author: William Henry Fitchett,Henry Stead,William H. Judkins

Publisher: N.A

ISBN: N.A

Category: Australian periodicals

Page: N.A

View: 4017

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The Evolution of Morality

Author: Richard Joyce

Publisher: MIT Press

ISBN: 9780262263252

Category: Philosophy

Page: 288

View: 9431

Moral thinking pervades our practical lives, but where did this way of thinking come from, and what purpose does it serve? Is it to be explained by environmental pressures on our ancestors a million years ago, or is it a cultural invention of more recent origin? In The Evolution of Morality, Richard Joyce takes up these controversial questions, finding that the evidence supports an innate basis to human morality. As a moral philosopher, Joyce is interested in whether any implications follow from this hypothesis. Might the fact that the human brain has been biologically prepared by natural selection to engage in moral judgment serve in some sense to vindicate this way of thinking -- staving off the threat of moral skepticism, or even undergirding some version of moral realism? Or if morality has an adaptive explanation in genetic terms -- if it is, as Joyce writes, "just something that helped our ancestors make more babies" -- might such an explanation actually undermine morality's central role in our lives? He carefully examines both the evolutionary "vindication of morality" and the evolutionary "debunking of morality," considering the skeptical view more seriously than have others who have treated the subject.Interdisciplinary and combining the latest results from the empirical sciences with philosophical discussion, The Evolution of Morality is one of the few books in this area written from the perspective of moral philosophy. Concise and without technical jargon, the arguments are rigorous but accessible to readers from different academic backgrounds. Joyce discusses complex issues in plain language while advocating subtle and sometimes radical views. The Evolution of Morality lays the philosophical foundations for further research into the biological understanding of human morality.
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Braintrust

What Neuroscience Tells Us about Morality

Author: Patricia S. Churchland

Publisher: Princeton University Press

ISBN: 1400889383

Category: Philosophy

Page: 288

View: 7240

What is morality? Where does it come from? And why do most of us heed its call most of the time? In Braintrust, neurophilosophy pioneer Patricia Churchland argues that morality originates in the biology of the brain. She describes the "neurobiological platform of bonding" that, modified by evolutionary pressures and cultural values, has led to human styles of moral behavior. The result is a provocative genealogy of morals that asks us to reevaluate the priority given to religion, absolute rules, and pure reason in accounting for the basis of morality. Moral values, Churchland argues, are rooted in a behavior common to all mammals--the caring for offspring. The evolved structure, processes, and chemistry of the brain incline humans to strive not only for self-preservation but for the well-being of allied selves--first offspring, then mates, kin, and so on, in wider and wider "caring" circles. Separation and exclusion cause pain, and the company of loved ones causes pleasure; responding to feelings of social pain and pleasure, brains adjust their circuitry to local customs. In this way, caring is apportioned, conscience molded, and moral intuitions instilled. A key part of the story is oxytocin, an ancient body-and-brain molecule that, by decreasing the stress response, allows humans to develop the trust in one another necessary for the development of close-knit ties, social institutions, and morality. A major new account of what really makes us moral, Braintrust challenges us to reconsider the origins of some of our most cherished values.
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A Discourse Upon the Origin and the Foundation of the Inequality Among Mankind

Author: Jean-Jacques Rousseau

Publisher: Cosimo, Inc.

ISBN: 1605203696

Category: Philosophy

Page: 64

View: 9689

[F]rom the moment one man began to stand in need of another's assistance; from the moment it appeared an advantage for one man to possess the quantity of provisions requisite for two, all equality vanished; property started up; labour became necessary; and boundless forests became smiling fields, which it was found necessary to water with human sweat, and in which slavery and misery were soon seen to sprout out and grow with the fruits of the earth. -from "Second Part" Was man better off before he invented "civil society"? From where does social inequality spring? Did the development of agriculture and technology doom most of humanity to an everlasting enslavement to the tiny minority of the wealthy and the strong? This 1754 essay, written in response to concepts of the "natural man" developed by philosopher Thomas Hobbes, explores such ideas, radical at the time and still considered such today. Rousseau's thoughts continue to be echoed, however, in modern philosophical movements from feminism to environmentalism, and ensure that his examination of the history of human civilization, in its broadest sense, remains vital today. Swiss philosopher JEAN-JACQUES ROUSSEAU (1712-1778) was a dramatic influence on the French revolution, 19th-century communism, the American Founding Fathers, and much modern political thought. His works include Discourse on the Arts and Sciences (1750), Discourse on Political Economy (1755), and The Social Contract, Or Principles of Political Right (1762).
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Encyclopædia of Religion and Ethics: Mundas-Phrygians

Author: James Hastings,John Alexander Selbie,Louis Herbert Gray

Publisher: Burns & Oates

ISBN: N.A

Category: Philosophy

Page: 400

View: 9251

Scope: theology, philosophy, ethics of various religions and ethical systems and relevant portions of anthropology, mythology, folklore, biology, psychology, economics and sociology.
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The Enigma of Reason

Author: Hugo Mercier,Dan Sperber

Publisher: Harvard University Press

ISBN: 0674368304

Category: Philosophy

Page: 408

View: 1504

If reason is so useful and reliable, why didn’t it evolve in other animals and why do humans produce so much thoroughly reasoned nonsense? Hugo Mercier and Dan Sperber argue that reason is not geared to solitary use. It evolved to help justify our beliefs to others, evaluate their arguments, and better exploit our uniquely rich social environment.
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A Theory of Justice

Author: John RAWLS

Publisher: Harvard University Press

ISBN: 0674042603

Category: Philosophy

Page: 623

View: 8686

Though the revised edition of A Theory of Justice, published in 1999, is the definitive statement of Rawls's view, so much of the extensive literature on Rawls's theory refers to the first edition. This reissue makes the first edition once again available for scholars and serious students of Rawls's work.
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