Download e-book for kindle: Bending the Rules: Morality in the Modern World - From by Robert A. Hinde

By Robert A. Hinde

Do-unto-others-as-you-would-have-them-do-unto-you. Who may disagree with this "Golden Rule?" We regard it because the foundation of an absolute and common morality. And but it truly is thought of appropriate to kill the enemy in warfare; for a businessman to do the simplest for himself; for a legal professional to argue professionally for a place he might in my opinion reject. Are the ethical ideas we are living via extra versatile than they appear at the start sight? In Bending the principles Robert Hinde doesn't keep on with the much-trodden direction of philosophizing approximately what's correct and simply. as a substitute, he makes use of an technique grounded within the behavioral sciences to discover the character of morality, what humans really do, what they think to be correct, and what values they carry, and the way those positions got here to be. the sort of deeper figuring out of morality, he argues, as a manufactured from organic and cultural evolution, and altering with social setting, holds out desire that we will be able to keep away from catastrophe and steer society in the direction of peace and fairness within the twenty-first century.

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A more important issue probably lies in the importance of living in a group that is in competition with other groups. Early in human history, individual survival depended on membership of a cohesive group, and even today we function better if living in a harmonious society, where individuals cooperate with each other, than in one composed of selfish individuals. It is reasonable to suppose that early human groups competed with each other 35 The Evolution of Morality (either directly, or by being better at acquiring limited resources), and that groups with a higher proportion of individuals who behaved prosocially to, and cooperatively with, other in-group members tended to do better than those containing many selfishly assertive individuals.

This requires a brief digression on the nature of the ‘self-system’. Every individual has an image of the sort of person that she is. Thus one may see oneself as black, well educated, married with two children, a member of the local church, and so on. One has views not only of what one is but also of what values one has. 28 If we have incorporated the relevant norms and values, we behave prosocially automatically in simple situations. In colloquial speech, we act according to our ‘moral intuitions’ and may not even be able to explain why we behave as we do.

This is not surprising, for such behaviour is in keeping with the mode of action of natural selection. Natural selection operates to ensure that individuals behave in a way that maximizes their lifetime reproductive success and also that of their descendants and close relatives. The genetic constitution of those who leave more healthy offspring than others will be better represented in succeeding generations. In looking after their children, parents are ensuring the survival of individuals who behave in much the same way as they do and are likely to pass on a similar complement of genes.

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