This chapter considers the biological and cultural evolution of human nature by natural selection. As Charles Darwin and modern scholars have explained, human cooperation and moral sentiments have evolved through group selection over millions of years. This helps to explain the existence of some shared moral rules in many societies. Morality eventually became institutionalized in religion, and then in law. The chapter shows how evolutionary analysis can be used in a negative manner to criticise some moral claims, particularly (a) the view of Ayn Rand that altruism is ‘evil’ and socially destructive, and (b) of Friedrich Hayek that altruism and solidarity must be ‘repressed’ in modern society. Both views can be rebutted with rigorous evolutionary analysis. Using evolutionary analysis in a positive sense to argue for particular moral values is trickier. This leads to a brief discussion of philosophical naturalism and the conclusion of the chapter.
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