Article ID: CBB110998161

How Could a “Blind” Evolutionary Process Have Made Human Moral Beliefs Sensitive to Strongly Universal, Objective Moral Standards? (2014)


The evolutionist challenge to moral realism is the skeptical challenge that, if evolution is true, it would only be by chance, a “happy coincidence” as Sharon Street puts it, if human moral beliefs were true. The author formulates Street’s “happy coincidence” argument more precisely using a distinction between probabilistic sensitivity and insensitivity introduced by Elliott Sober. The author then considers whether it could be rational for us to believe that human moral judgments about particular cases are probabilistically sensitive to strongly universal fundamental moral standards of cooperation and fair division. The author provides an explanation of why there would be a benign correlation (though not a perfect one) between human moral judgments in particular cases and the requirements of strongly universal fundamental moral standards. The explanation of the benign correlation is based on group selection for groups of individuals with an egalitarian satisficing psychology and egalitarian norms, because of the ability of such groups to more efficiently solve gene-propagation collective action problems.

Citation URI

Similar Citations

Article Alejandro Fábregas-Tejeda; Abigail Nieves Delgado; Jan Baedke; (2021)
Revisiting Hans Böker’s "Species Transformation Through Reconstruction: Reconstruction Through Active Reaction of Organisms" (1935) (/isis/citation/CBB806685409/) unapi

Article Takacs, Peter; Ruse, Michael; (2013)
The Current Status of the Philosophy of Biology (/isis/citation/CBB001252311/) unapi

Article Brandon A. Conley; (2019)
Mayr and Tinbergen: disentangling and integrating (/isis/citation/CBB308076732/) unapi

Book Marco Tamborini; (2022)
The Architecture of Evolution: The Science of Form in Twentieth-Century Evolutionary Biology (/isis/citation/CBB357484390/) unapi

Chapter Jablonka, Eva; (2011)
Lamarckian Problematics in Biology (/isis/citation/CBB001500093/) unapi

Book Sansom, Roger; Brandon, Robert N; (2007)
Integrating Evolution and Development: From Theory to Practice (/isis/citation/CBB001213665/) unapi

Book Caporael, Linnda R.; Griesemer, James R.; Wimsatt, William C.; (2014)
Developing Scaffolds in Evolution, Culture, and Cognition (/isis/citation/CBB001510224/) unapi

Article Alessandro Minelli; (2020)
Genes, embryos and evolution (/isis/citation/CBB307786830/) unapi

Thesis Bruce Richard Erick Peirson; (2015)
Evolution Under Our Feet: Anthony David Bradshaw (1926–2008) and the Rise of Ecological Genetics (/isis/citation/CBB047213503/) unapi

Article J. H. van Hateren; (2014)
Intrinsic estimates of fitness affect the causal structure of evolutionary change (/isis/citation/CBB316372448/) unapi

Chapter Gliboff, Sander; (2012)
Monism and Morphology at the Turn of the Twentieth Century (/isis/citation/CBB001201838/) unapi

Book Godfrey-Smith, Peter; (2014)
Philosophy of Biology (/isis/citation/CBB001510277/) unapi

Article Birch, Jonathan; (2012)
The Negative View of Natural Selection (/isis/citation/CBB001221639/) unapi

Book Hull, David L.; (2001)
Science and Selection: Essays on Biological Evolution and the Philosophy of Science (/isis/citation/CBB000100243/) unapi

Article Stamos, David N.; (2002)
Species, Languages, and the Horizontal/Vertical Distinction (/isis/citation/CBB000200252/) unapi

Article Razeto-Barry, Pablo; Frick, Ramiro; (2011)
Probabilistic Causation and the Explanatory Role of Natural Selection (/isis/citation/CBB001024019/) unapi

Article Andrew Buskell; (2020)
Synthesising arguments and the extended evolutionary synthesis (/isis/citation/CBB983930450/) unapi

Authors & Contributors
Ruse, Michael
Hull, David L.
Stamos, David N.
Kutschera, Ulrich
Razeto-Barry, Pablo
Frick, Ramiro
Biology and Philosophy
Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences
Annals of the History and Philosophy of Biology
Science and Education
Mefisto: Rivista di medicina, filosofia, storia
Biological Theory
Cambridge University
MIT Press
The MIT Press
Princeton University Press
Arizona State University
Evolutionary developmental biology
Philosophy of biology
Developmental biology
Darwin, Charles Robert
Spencer, Herbert
Lorenz, Konrad
Haeckel, Ernst
Russell, Edward Stuart
Bradshaw, Anthony David
Time Periods
20th century
19th century
21st century
20th century, early
United States

Be the first to comment!

{{ comment.created_by.username }} on {{ comment.created_on | date:'medium' }}

Log in or register to comment