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Alejandro Rosas Lopez
KLI Brown Bag
Preliminary Thoughts on the Phylogeny of Moral Cognition
Alejandro ROSAS (KLI)
2008-10-16 13:15 - 2008-10-16 13:15
KLI for Evolution and Cognition Research, Altenberg, Austria
Organized by KLI

Topic description:
I start out with a simple characterization of moral agents as conditional cooperators. Conditional cooperators are usually viewed as norm followers. Norm following involves complex cognitive and emotional capacities. I isolate one cognitive element: the capacity for behavioral prediction. Conditional cooperators need to know when others are likely to cooperate; when defection is a sign of character and anticipates future defection, and when not; and so forth. One approach to how this capacity evolved, is to look at the capacities for behavioral prediction in other primates. I look at some experiments and draw some provisional conclusions.


Biographical note:
Alejandro Rosas is associate professor at the philosophy department, Universidad Nacional de Colombia. Trained initially as a Kant scholar, he later turned to pursue a naturalistic worldview. His current project is to develop a picture of the evolutionary genesis of a moral agent. This involves work on moral psychology and moral theory, experimental economics, multilevel selection theory, the evolutionary theory of cooperation, and the evolution and phylogeny of typical human cognitive and behavioral traits. Recent publications include "The sociobiological dilemma" (Zygon 2007), "Multilevel selection and human altruism" (Biology and Philosophy 2008) and "The return of reciprocity" (Biology and Philosophy 2008). Prof. Rosas is currently a Senior Fellow at the KLI.