Professor Robert Kurzban, Current Evolutionary Theories on Morality

Why do we have morality? From where is it derived?


Professor Kurzban will discuss current evolutionary theories of morality, asserting that the adaptations that underlie moral judgment and behavior serve to deliver benefits (or prevent harm) to others. He will also discuss three lines of research built around an alternative view.


The first set of experiments illustrates that kin selected systems are moral systems that are not only distinct, but occasionally work in opposite directions.


The second set of experiments illustrates that construing morality strategically helps to explain a previously puzzling phenomenon known as the “omission bias.”


The third set illustrates how differing moral intuitions can be explained in terms of differing fitness interests.


Together, these results point to a different function for morality other than altruism, and point to a potential strategic function.