Evolution and Morality
Publication Year: 2012
Published by: NYU Press
Download PDF (40.3 KB)
This volume of NOMOS —the fifty-second in the series —emerged from papers and commentaries given at the annual meeting of the American Society for Political and Legal Philosophy (ASPLP) in Boston on August 28–29, 2008, held in conjunction with the annual meeting of the American Political...
Download PDF (32.3 KB)
PART I: NATURALISTIC ETHICS
1. Naturalistic Ethics without Fallacies
Download PDF (120.3 KB)
Naturalism about ethics is a notoriously problematic position, possibly the worst of all, except for its available rivals. Naturalists, when they are not viewed as being so crude as to be beneath notice, are typically charged with committing well-known fallacies. I shall outline a version of naturalism that will...
2. The Two Faces of Morality: How Evolutionary Theory Can Both Vindicate and Debunk Morality (with a Special Nod to the Growing Importance of Law)
Download PDF (237.2 KB)
Charles Darwin was the first to propose that there might be an evolutionary explanation of the moral sentiments—which, on certain contemporary views, might plausibly include or even largely consist in an evolutionary explanation of our capacities for moral judgment as well. Although more than
3. Missing Heritability: Hidden Environment in Genetic Studies of Human Behavior
Download PDF (79.2 KB)
Philip Kitcher argues that the sciences of sociobiology and evolutionary psychology are severely limited in their utility for understanding human nature and contributing to the ethical project. He argues for a much broader set of approaches that would necessarily lessen the importance of biology in...
PART II: LAW AND BEHAVIORAL MORALITY
4. Law and Behavioral Morality
Download PDF (230.4 KB)
Behavioral morality is a new brand of moral philosophy with the central tenet that bad behavior attributable to a physical cause is either less blameworthy than intentional behavior or not at all morally blameworthy. As evolutionary biology, cognitive neuroscience, and moral philosophers meet on an...
5. Rethinking Unreasonableness: A Comment on Nita Farahany’s “Law and Behavioral Morality”
Download PDF (202.2 KB)
In her stimulating essay, Professor Nita Farahany defines the new movement of “behavioral morality” and situates it within a taxonomy of movements that relate human biology to moral capacities and content. As Farahany’s taxonomy illustrates, there are numerous branches of inquiry that tread this...
6. A Case Study in Neuroscience and Responsibility
Download PDF (92.9 KB)
Several prominent criminal law theorists argue vigorously and persistently that responsibility and excuses (which are denials of responsibility) should not be based on causation. Moore, for example, opposes “the causal theory of excuses,” which claims that “when an agent is caused to act by a factor...
7. Science Fiction: Some Unexamined Assumptions of Nita Farahany’s “Law and Behavioral Morality”
Download PDF (71.1 KB)
Nita Farahany’s essay “Law and Behavioral Morality” takes up several distinct but related topics concerning the application of science, specifically neuroscience, to matters of criminal law. My response to “Law and Behavioral Morality” focuses on what I take to be, at least at first glance, one of its...
PART III: BIOPOLITICAL SCIENCE
8. Biopolitical Science
Download PDF (197.2 KB)
Political science could become a true science by becoming a biopolitical science of political animals. This science would be both Aristotelian and Darwinian. It would be Aristotelian in fulfilling Aristotle’s original understanding of political science as the biological study of the political life of human...
9. Comment on Larry Arnhart, “Biopolitical Science”
Download PDF (71.3 KB)
On the eve of the invasion of Iraq in March of 2003, the faculty and students of Fordham University in the Bronx, where I was teaching at the time, came together for an evening forum to discuss the looming war. I have vivid memories of the atmosphere: walking through the gathering dusk to the...
10. Arnhart’s Explanatory Pluralism
Download PDF (75.5 KB)
Larry Arnhart, in his “Biopolitical Science,” argues for a comprehensive, integrative approach to political science. According to Arnhart, this “biopolitical” framework of a “science of political animals” moves through three main levels of “deep” political history —a universal political history of the human...
PART IV: NATURE, CONSERVATISM, AND PROGRESSIVISM
11. Against Nature
Download PDF (259.8 KB)
Progressive arguments on behalf of subordinated social groups often embrace social models of group identity. In other words, these arguments treat identity categories, based on race or sex or disability, as socially constructed. Relatedly, progressives tend to resist naturalizing models of group difference...
12. Nature, Culture, and Social Engineering: Reflections on Evolution and Equality
Download PDF (249.7 KB)
In the United States, evidence of the success of legal feminism’s equality project is visible in the constitutional commitment to equal opportunity and prohibitions against legislating based on fixed notions about gender roles, as well as in the move toward greater sex equality in family law and other...
Download PDF (289.6 KB)
Page Count: 400
Publication Year: 2012