Relevance of evolutionary biology and game theory in ethics



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Tartu Ülikool


Recent research from the fields of evolutionary biology, game theory, cognitive sciences, and anthropology claims that human morality is a result of evolution and the selective advantage of cooperation among individuals in their survival and fitness. Although humans have the innate propensity to cooperate and thus be moral, they are limited by the tendency of promoting self-fitness whenever possible. This hybrid model of morality restricts us from cooperating in the long-term when the benefits of not cooperating in the short term appear more appealing. Also, our innate morality only equips us to cooperate with kin and ingroup members and fails when we are required to extend it to members outside one’s group. In this thesis I argue that 1) we should aim for increased cooperation as a society since it benefits us in the long run, 2) evolutionary ethics has significant insights to offer for the expansion of our moral behavior, 3) cultural evolution can be a suitable means for us to achieve our ethical endeavors overcoming the constraints posed by genetic evolution.



philosophy, morality, game theory, ethics