On the Evolutionary Origin of Morality

In this study, I will approach morality from a naturalistic perspective and defend that morality is a product of evolutionary processes shared by both human and non-human animals rather than that of human culture. My naturalistic approach is based on simpler components instead of high-level cognitive capabilities such as cognition. Rationality, judgment, and free will are indeed presented as necessary for morality in classical definitions of morality. However, I will put forward that the roots of morality can be understood as the biological disposition in the evolutionary process. Moreover, in this paper, I will propose that morality is not a phenomenon that ought to be restricted to humans. I think morality is not a phenomenon that is exclusively human; rather, morality can be expanded to non-human animals. To defend this claim, I will indicate that morality has a natural content and that this content does not have a structure that can only be justified on a rational basis, but that this normative structure can be established through biological/evolutionary mechanisms and can be explained in this way.


A philosophical analysis of the biological accounts of morality and altruism
Bilgin, Arda; Sol, Ayhan; Department of Philosophy (2020)
The main purpose of my thesis is to show that morality is not unique to humans and it does not separate humans from nature. To that end I first discuss the issue of emotions to emphasize that biological accounts are more significant than cultural ones. Then, I focus on the notion of altruism that I find central to morality. In this part, I examine different approaches to altruism and try to reveal that the emotion of empathy is the main motivation behind altruistic behavior. I touch upon the mechanisms unde...
Sakin Hanoğlu, Derya; Sol, Ayhan; Department of Philosophy (2021-10)
The aim of this thesis is to investigate whether morality is uniquely human, and to argue that emotions are the basis of morality in the sense that moral behavior is produced by emotions. In order to support my suggestion, I first intend to investigate the nature and function of emotions. Furthermore, I adopt an evolutionary perspective suggesting that our biology pushed us toward caring about certain things surrounding us. In accordance with this assertion, I endeavor to examine whether moral judgments and...
Epicurus and Kant: a comparison of their ethical systems
Kutan, Ali Haydar; Turan, Şeref Halil; Department of Philosophy (2010)
In this Study, the empiricist ethical system of Epicurus and idealist ethical system of Kant will be compared. Kant maintains that as Epicurus’ ethics regards morality as a means for the attainment of happiness, it is nothing but a self-love ethics. He, for this reason, calls Epicurean morality “selfishness.” According to Kant, the maxims of happiness can be known only through experience but he says, experience can never produce a law which is universal and necessary. He contends that as Epicurean ethics ha...
On the possibility of wittgensteinian language of ethics
Oktar, Sibel; Turan, Şeref Halil; Department of Philosophy (2008)
In this study, the standpoint that discourse on ethics is impossible is examined. As Ludwig Wittgenstein is the first philosopher who explicitly said that ethics is inexpressible, the main concentration is on Wittgenstein’s conception of ethics. Analytic philosophy’s questions regarding ethics are about the meaning of the expressions of value rather than conduct. It is generally recognized that the distinction between these questions and the emphasis on the definition of value judgements starts with G.E. Mo...
The relation of freedom and evil in Kant’s moral philosophy
Aydın Bayram, Selma; Turan, Şeref Halil; Department of Philosophy (2006)
The purpose of this study is to examine concepts of freedom and evil, and to clarify their relation in terms of Kant’s moral philosophy. In this study, I firstly examine Kant’s understanding of freedom and the problems that this understanding leads to. I also discuss how the concept of freedom can be reconciled with the concept of evil expressed in the form of “propensity to evil”. Additionally, I attempt to show the significance of the notion of evil for Kant’s moral theory. Evil is one of the most critici...
Citation Formats
D. Sakin Hanoğlu, “On the Evolutionary Origin of Morality,” BEYTULHIKME-AN INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF PHILOSOPHY, vol. 12, no. 1, pp. 149–164, 2022, Accessed: 00, 2022. [Online]. Available: https://hdl.handle.net/11511/98952.