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Frans de Waal on the Evolution of Morality
David Sloan Wilson
David Sloan Wilson
is the SUNY Distinguished Professor of Biology and Anthropology at Binghamton University and Arne Næss Chair in Global Justice and the Environment at the University of Oslo

A conference titled “The Evolution of Morality: The Biology and Philosophy of Human Conscience” will be held in the idyllic location of Erice, Sicily, on June 17-22 2012. The speakers will be a highly interdisciplinary group of evolutionary biologists, ethologists, neuroscientists, anthropologists, psychologists, philosophers, and theologians, who speak a common theoretical language in addition to their disciplinary training. David Sloan Wilson speaks with the famed primatologist Frans DeWaal, one of the organizers, about the conference and what it means to approach the topic of morality from an evolutionary perspective.

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  1. JOHN JACOB LYONS says:

    Some readers may know that I have suggested that our apparently innate religiosity has evolved, not simply by Darwinian Natural Selection, but via an indirect process that I call ‘Genetic Priming’. See—

    link to scilogs.eu

    Like religiosity, moral actions probably also got started as spontaneous behaviours that turned out to be adaptive in an evolutionary sense. This would have favoured particular genetically mediated gene-variants (alleles) that supported/ encouraged such behaviours; thus starting a ‘Genetic Priming’ process similar to that explained in the article I have ‘linked’ to above.

    I may be able to participate in the ‘Evolution of Morality’ conference in Sicily in June. If so, I may have another opportunity to present ‘Genetic Priming’ for discussion: this time in the context of morality/ conscience.