Moral Psychology, Volume 1: The Evolution of Morality

Walter Sinnott-Armstrong

For much of the 20th century, philosophy and science went their separate ways. In moral philosophy, fear of the so-called naturalistic fallacy kept moral philosophers from incorporating developments in biology and psychology. Since the 1990s, however, many philosophers have drawn on recent advances in cognitive psychology, brain science, and evolutionary psychology to inform their work. This collaborative trend is especially strong in moral philosophy, and these volumes bring together some of the most innovative work by both philosophers and psychologists in this emerging interdisciplinary field.

The contributors to volume 1 discuss recent work on the evolution of moral beliefs, attitudes, and emotions. Each chapter includes an essay, comments on the essay by other scholars, and a reply by the author(s) of the original essay. Topics include a version of naturalism that avoids supposed fallacies, distinct neurocomputational systems for deontic reasoning, the evolutionary psychology of moral sentiments regarding incest, the sexual selection of moral virtues, the evolution of symbolic thought, and arguments both for and against innate morality. Taken together, the chapters demonstrate the value for both philosophy and psychology of collaborative efforts to understand the many complex aspects of morality.