Skip to main content

Publication Details

On One Attempt to Evolutionary Explain Morals

(Original title: K jednému pokusu o evolučné vysvetlenie morálky)
Filozofia, 75 (2020), 7, 584 – 595.
Type of work: Articles
Publication language: Slovak

The aim of the paper is to critically analyse one of the many attempts to explain the origin of our morality using evolutionary theory. Specifically, this paper deals with an anthropological theory presented by Curry, Mullins and Whitehouse in which they predict existence of seven universal moral patterns. They assume that these patterns and morality as such are a biological and cultural response to a need to establish cooperation in human societies. Several weaknesses of their moral theory are pointed out with the conclusion that their theory may be able to explain why it is advantageous with respect to natural selection to prefer certain behaviour, but not why we attribute moral evaluations to a given behaviour. Therefore, their theory does not provide a reason to regard moral elements analysed in the paper as evolutionarily acquired adaptations.


Evolutionary psychology, Moral norms, Morality as cooperation, Theory of evolution

File to download: PDF