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Understanding Moral Sentiments: Darwinian Perspectives Hardcover – 30 Jun 2014


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"Readers are treated to an array of essays from scholars well versed in their respective fields, but each prepared to engage in argumentative debate with other positions. Contested issues emerge on the evolution of moral sentiments, though with special attention paid to altruism. Literature, evolutionary biology, primatology, anthropology, psychology, moral philosophy and moral theology are brought to the table. This is a book that will intrigue scholars and students alike, opening up further questions for research and public debate." --Celia Deane-Drummond, University of Notre Dame

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Outstanding collection 7 Jun. 2014
By Jon G. Allen - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The sheer diversity of contributions is fitting for a book about evolution. Unusual for an edited book is the consistently high quality of the various chapters; these authors are masters, and many are extraordinarily good writers as well as fine thinkers. Do not ignore the question mark in the subtitle; it is the key to the whole book. Competent evolutionary thinking about morality finds ample expression here, but the volume as a whole lays bare the folly of the common reductionistic temptation to explain morality (and theology) in evolutionary terms. Neiman puts it succinctly: "give a nonmoral reason for acting morally and you have left the realm of moral discourse." Yet there is a compelling case here for making full use of knowledge of evolution to inform moral philosophy. It is not uncommon for a hodgepodge of chapters in an edited volume to leave the reader in a muddle; this book fittingly ends with a brilliant integration of its diverse perspectives by David Lahti that charts a way forward in this highly competitive struggle between two longstanding adversaries, philosophy and science. Those who are content with evolutionary psychology's explanation of morality must read this book. Those who are discontent with evolutionary psychology's explanations of morality must read this book.
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