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[Lecture] The Evolution of Morality

NOV . 29 2018

Title: The Evolution of Morality

Time: 10:00-12:00 am, Nov. 29, 2018, Thursday


Venue: Room 109, Building 3, Lee Shau Kee School of Humanities


Speaker: Professor Stephen Stich, Rutgers University


Abstract: The theory of moral psychology proposed by Sripada & Stich, and many other theories in which social learning plays a major role, suggests that people will often internalize norms that reduce their own biological fitness. It might be thought that no such psychological mechanism could possibly evolve. But that would be a mistake. In this talk I’ll explain why it was all but inevitable that natural selection would lead to moral psychology in our species, once we had acquired the ability to learn from one another. The account I’ll offer explains why many moral norms foster cooperative or pro-social behavior. It also explains why many human norms lead to ethnic hatred and morally repugnant behavior. If the account is correct, these norms will be very difficult to dislodge, and robust cultural differences in norms are likely to be widespread.


Edited by: Guo Xinyu

Source: Department of Philosophy (Department of Religious Studies)