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Biosocial determinants in moral behavior: An evolutionary approach
Author: Wuketits, Franz M.
Journal: Homo
Volume: 46
Year: 1996
Pages: 113—124

Moral behavior emerged late in the evolution of life as an exclusive character of the human species. It is universal in humans, inherent in all societies and cultures, so that it must be based on biological, genetic evolution. One can also argue that particular aspects of (human) moral behavior express specific biological, especially reproductive needs. Moreover, social changes have to be considered as important factors for the development of values and norms. Hence, morality is basically an anthropological phenomenon and should not remain in the territory of philosophical speculations. A general evolutionary approach covering both the organic and the social (cultural) evolution of hominids helps solve intriguing problems concerning the nature of morality - which has usually been discussed in philosophical terms. Such an approach is not necessarily reductionistic. It rather comprises data and theories from various fields of research, such as evolutionary biology, genetics, sociobiology, psychology, and the social sciences. Conversely, an understanding of the emergence and evolutionary development of moral systems is important to a comprehensive view of the major factors of hominid evolution.