Die Entstehung der Moral, der Begriff der Moral und das Bild von der Natur des Menschen

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What is the function of morality? On this question, something approaching a consensus has recently emerged. Impressed by developments in evolutionary theory, many philosophers now tell us that the function of morality is to reduce social tensions, and to thereby enable a society to efficiently promote the well-being of its members. In this paper, I subject this consensus to rigorous scrutiny, arguing that the functional hypothesis in question is not well supported. In particular, I attack the supposed evidential relation between an evolutionary genealogy of morals and the functional hypothesis itself. I show that there are a great many functionally relevant discontinuities between our own culture and the culture within which morality allegedly emerged, and I argue that this seriously weakens the inference from morality’s evolutionary history to its present-day function.
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Modern theories of the evolution of human cooperation focus mainly on altruism. In contrast, we propose that humans’ species-unique forms of cooperation—as well as their species-unique forms of cognition, communication, and social life—all derive from mutualistic collaboration (with social selection against cheaters). In a first step, humans became obligate collaborative foragers such that individuals were interdependent with one another and so had a direct interest in the well-being of their partners. In this context, they evolved new skills and motivations for collaboration not possessed by other great apes (joint intentionality), and they helped their potential partners (and avoided cheaters). In a second step, these new collaborative skills and motivations were scaled up to group life in general, as modern humans faced competition from other groups. As part of this new group-mindedness, they created cultural conventions, norms, and institutions (all characterized by collective intentionality), with knowledge of a specific set of these marking individuals as members of a particular cultural group. Human cognition and sociality thus became ever more collaborative and altruistic as human individuals became ever more interdependent.
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This chapter discusses how morality might be partially innate, meaning organized, to some extent, in advance of experience. It begins by arguing for a broader conception of morality and suggests that most of the discussion of innateness to date has not been about morality per se; it has been about whether the psychology of harm and fairness is innate. Five hypotheses about the origins of moral knowledge and value are considered, and one of them (a form of flexible and generative modularity) is endorsed as being the best candidate. The importance of narrativity in moral functioning is discussed. In some respects, this is another corrective to what is seen as an overemphasis on deductive and calculative conceptions of value and rationality among both philosophers and psychologists. It is shown that a narrative approach to morality fits well with the nativist 'five foundations' view developed in the first part of the chapter, and also helps to explain how the intuitive, evolved foundations of morality are elaborated by cultural activity into the complex, diverse moral functioning that mature human beings display.
Building on different sources of theory, from paleontology to psychology, Michael Tomasello offers a plausible, even compelling, story about how our ancestors developed distinctive forms of collaboration, evolving mechanisms to support them, in the period from roughly 400,000 to 150,000 years ago. But he claims that this narrative explains why they would have begun to think in characteristically moral ways, developing notions like those of respect, desert, and commitment. Do the arguments rehearsed support that extra claim? It is not absolutely clear that they do.
This is a collection of 18 of the author's recent essays, two previously unpublished, plus an introductory essay. Considered together the essays constitute an extended argument for the importance to human life in society of joint commitment, in a sense that is explained. Topics covered range from marital love to the unity of the European Union, from promissory obligations and rights to social convention, from the nature of command authority to the impact of shared values on individual liberty. It is divided into four parts: I Shared Agency, II Collective Attitudes, III Mutual Recognition, Promises, and Love, IV Political Life.
The only biologically respectable notion of human nature is an extremely permissive one that names the reliable dispositions of the human species as a whole. This conception offers no ethical guidance in debates over enhancement, and indeed it has the result that alterations to human nature have been commonplace in the history of our species. Aristotelian conceptions of species natures, which are currently fashionable in meta-ethics and applied ethics, have no basis in biological fact. Moreover, because our folk psychology finds this misleading Aristotelian conception highly tempting, we are in fact better off if we refrain from mentioning human nature altogether in debates over enhancement.
This study investigated young children's commitment to a joint goal by assessing whether peers in collaborative activities continue to collaborate until all received their rewards. Forty-eight 2.5- and 3.5-year-old children worked on an apparatus dyadically. One child got access to her reward early. For the partner to benefit as well, this child had to continue to collaborate even though there was no further reward available to her. The study found that 3.5-year-olds, but not 2.5-year-olds, eagerly assisted their unlucky partner. They did this less readily in a noncollaborative control condition. A second study confirmed that 2.5-year-old children understood the task structure. These results suggest that children begin to appreciate the normative dimensions of collaborative activities during the 3rd year of life.
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