Robert Kurzban presents on "Adaptationist Morality"
Tuesday, March 23 2010, 4:00pm - 5:30pm
Description: Current evolutionary theories of morality maintain that the adaptations that underlie moral judgment and behavior function to deliver benefits (or prevent harm) to others. In particular, it has been argued that the theories of kin selection and reciprocal altruism are focal to explaining moral cognition. These processes predict the existence of mechanisms designed to deliver benefits to others. If moral cognition is indeed designed to deliver benefits, then conscience systems – the mechanisms that cause compliance to moral rules – and condemnation systems – the mechanisms that evaluate acts as wrong and generate the belief that such acts should be punished – should reflect this putative function. This prediction does not, however, accord well with data on moral judgment. Instead of seeing moral cognition as designed to deliver benefits – but doing so poorly – alternative functions of moral cognition should be entertained, starting with possible functions of the systems that underlie moral condemnation. This talk will focus on research by Robert Kurzban and Peter DeScioli.
Location: University of Pennsylvania Law School, 3400 Chestnut Street, Silverman Hall 240B