Do We Have an Inborn Moral Sense?

Author(s): Marilyn Walker

This paper reviews some recent work in the relationship between caring behavior among humans, an evolutionary adaptation necessary for survival of the species, and our moral sense of right and wrong. The investigation presents some of our current understandings; the question is part of ongoing work in neuroscience and evolutionary biology. Does caring behavior necessarily imply a moral sensibility?

1. Introduction
This paper reviews some recent work in the areas of moral intuition and caring behavior among humans. Recent neurophysiological research has identified areas of the brain involved in caring behavior. Evolutionary biology, in conjunction with neuroscience, seems to have an agreed-upon hypothesis on how caring; i.e., bonding behavior evolved via natural selection. I look at some of the questions that caring behavior gives rise to. Where does it come from? What are the manifestations? How and when is it a force for good, or not? Does caring behavior necessarily imply a moral sensibility?

Many of the understandings in the scientific community are preliminary and open to revision. So any hypotheses I propose are exploratory and tentative. They may provide suggestions for further studies to help figure out the salient characteristics that cause one to act on behalf of another, even at times with negative consequences for oneself.


Journal: Open Journal of Philosophy
DOI: 10.4236/ojpp.2014.44062 (PDF)
Paper Id: 51421 (metadata)

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