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By James S. Chisholm

By means of exhibiting how and why human nature is what it's, evolutionary idea might help us see greater what we have to do to enhance the human situation. Following evolutionary concept to its logical end, loss of life, desire and intercourse makes use of existence historical past concept and attachment concept to build a version of human nature during which severe beneficial properties are understood by way of the advance of other reproductive recommendations contingent on environmental danger and uncertainty. James Chisholm examines the consequences of this version for views on issues linked to human copy, together with teenager being pregnant, and younger male violence. He therefore develops new ways for thorny concerns similar to the nature-nurture and mind-body dichotomies. Bridging the space among the social and organic sciences, this far-reaching quantity can be a resource of idea, debate and dialogue for all these drawn to the evolution of human nature and the possibility of an evolutionary humanism.

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Extra resources for Death, Hope and Sex: Steps to an Evolutionary Ecology of Mind and Morality

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How are moral sentiments (which “require high evaluation”) linked to reproductive value? How is value represented phenotypically? How does morality come to be embodied? Why does not everyone have the same morality? These are the questions that I will begin to address in the following chapter. I must be cautious, however, for, as Dennett (1995) notes, these are also the questions on which earlier evolutionary theories of morality stubbed their toes. Wilson (1978), Ruse and Wilson (1985), and Alexander (1987) have all advanced versions of the argument that morality “is an illusion fobbed off on us by our genes to get us to cooperate” (Ruse and Wilson 1985:51) and that “genes hold culture on a leash.

Q. Wilson 1993). The mistake, says Dennett, is in assuming “that our genes are powerful enough, and insightful enough, to keep us from making policies quite antithetical to their interests” (1995:471), and he calls “massively misleading” (p. 473) the essential Evolution and explanation 27 argument of Wilson, Ruse, and Alexander that because the ultimate explanation of everyone’s ethical stance has to do with reproductive success, therefore considerations of reproductive success explain each and every step on the complicated causal pathway that leads each of us from the genes we inherit from our ancestors to the particular moral sentiments that we come to hold as we mature.

Even so, there is a growing consensus that it has outlived its usefulness. Mark Johnson, for example, says that By claiming that empirical evidence about who we are and how we function is simply irrelevant to the fundamental questions of moral philosophy, Moore initiated a serious decline in ethics (and in value theory) in this century, from which we are only beginning to recover. (1993:140) The problem with the naturalistic fallacy is not in arguing from facts to values, but doing so unwisely.

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