On Ethics, Evolution, and Crap Like That

Where do morals come from? If they’re not emanations of absolute truth that mystically arrive in human minds, well, then, where do they come from?

Watch me take a stab at that question.

2 thoughts on “On Ethics, Evolution, and Crap Like That

  1. That’s too simplistic; certainly, there is a social element to moral codes that we each adhere to (or fail to adhere to), but there must be a deeper foundation for it. Not “absolute morality” that some people want us to believe in, but certainly an evolved set of behavioural instincts. Those would be a part of us from way back, from the nature of our hominid ancestors and before them, the ancestors we share with modern chimps and the like. After all, they’re all gregarious species. We’re a more complicated variation on that theme, but we certainly do have social and behavioural instincts.

    I recommend checking out the article I wrote and linked to; in the light of the points I raise, it’d be difficult to dismiss ethics as completely fabricated by people in positions of power.

    By the way, I can’t imagine that early human leaders would be so concerned with “survival” or “group cohesion” as much as their own survival and group subservience or obedience. What’s sold in Asia as “group cohesion” really often is just subservience or a reluctance to air opposing views. Confucianism is, in one sense, a very fancy and officially legitimated philosophical statement that amounts to the relatively more powerful having the right to tell the relatively less powerful to shut up in such a profound way that it actually becomes immoral to even question those in power.

    There’s a book in Korea that one of my students referred to in a Manifesto he submitted in a writing class last semester. It’s titled, “Confucius Must Die”, and as you can imagine, I am rather disappointed that it’s not available in English.

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