A Natural History of Human Morality (upcoming book)
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05-06-2015, 04:07 PM
A Natural History of Human Morality (upcoming book)
Yeah, another goddamn thread about morality.

Much of this however is more of an inquiry for an upcoming book dealing with this subject. I was wondering how reliable it will be:

A Natural History of Human Morality

Description: A Natural History of Human Morality offers the most detailed account to date of the evolution of human moral psychology. Based on extensive experimental data comparing great apes and human children, Michael Tomasello reconstructs how early humans gradually became an ultra-cooperative and, eventually, a moral species.

There were two key evolutionary steps, each founded on a new way that individuals could act together as a plural agent “we”. The first step occurred as ecological challenges forced early humans to forage together collaboratively or die. To coordinate these collaborative activities, humans evolved cognitive skills of joint intentionality, ensuring that both partners knew together the normative standards governing each role. To reduce risk, individuals could make an explicit joint commitment that “we” forage together and share the spoils together as equally deserving partners, based on shared senses of trust, respect, and responsibility. The second step occurred as human populations grew and the division of labor became more complex. Distinct cultural groups emerged that demanded from members loyalty, conformity, and cultural identity. In becoming members of a new cultural “we”, modern humans evolved cognitive skills of collective intentionality, resulting in culturally created and objectified norms of right and wrong that everyone in the group saw as legitimate morals for anyone who would be one of “us”.

As a result of this two-stage process, contemporary humans possess both a second-personal morality for face-to-face engagement with individuals and a group-minded “objective” morality that obliges them to the moral community as a whole.


This is really an area of interest for me since it seems to be a big question from theists of "well, if you're an atheist, where do you get your morals?" From a video of a muslim asking why atheists don't drink their dad's jizz to Tomasia here asking why we don't torture babies "for fun", the morality debate seems to be such a big debate topic for the religious. In fact, some theists rather hilariously think they have cornered the debate on morality.

The more I think of it though, it really shouldn't be this much of a debate. Why can't it be that the "Godless" can have all the same morals as the religious, except for the religious specific rules (like "thou shalt love the Lord they God").

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05-06-2015, 04:21 PM
RE: A Natural History of Human Morality (upcoming book)
(05-06-2015 04:07 PM)WalkingSnake Wrote:  Yeah, another goddamn thread about morality.

Much of this however is more of an inquiry for an upcoming book dealing with this subject. I was wondering how reliable it will be:

A Natural History of Human Morality

Description: A Natural History of Human Morality offers the most detailed account to date of the evolution of human moral psychology. Based on extensive experimental data comparing great apes and human children, Michael Tomasello reconstructs how early humans gradually became an ultra-cooperative and, eventually, a moral species.

There were two key evolutionary steps, each founded on a new way that individuals could act together as a plural agent “we”. The first step occurred as ecological challenges forced early humans to forage together collaboratively or die. To coordinate these collaborative activities, humans evolved cognitive skills of joint intentionality, ensuring that both partners knew together the normative standards governing each role. To reduce risk, individuals could make an explicit joint commitment that “we” forage together and share the spoils together as equally deserving partners, based on shared senses of trust, respect, and responsibility. The second step occurred as human populations grew and the division of labor became more complex. Distinct cultural groups emerged that demanded from members loyalty, conformity, and cultural identity. In becoming members of a new cultural “we”, modern humans evolved cognitive skills of collective intentionality, resulting in culturally created and objectified norms of right and wrong that everyone in the group saw as legitimate morals for anyone who would be one of “us”.

As a result of this two-stage process, contemporary humans possess both a second-personal morality for face-to-face engagement with individuals and a group-minded “objective” morality that obliges them to the moral community as a whole.


This is really an area of interest for me since it seems to be a big question from theists of "well, if you're an atheist, where do you get your morals?" From a video of a muslim asking why atheists don't drink their dad's jizz to Tomasia here asking why we don't torture babies "for fun", the morality debate seems to be such a big debate topic for the religious. In fact, some theists rather hilariously think they have cornered the debate on morality.

The more I think of it though, it really shouldn't be this much of a debate. Why can't it be that the "Godless" can have all the same morals as the religious, except for the religious specific rules (like "thou shalt love the Lord they God").

Since the author is Michael Tomasello, Co-Director of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, I expect it will be a worthwhile read.

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06-06-2015, 10:45 AM
RE: A Natural History of Human Morality (upcoming book)
(05-06-2015 04:07 PM)WalkingSnake Wrote:  Why can't it be that the "Godless" can have all the same morals as the religious, except for the religious specific rules (like "thou shalt love the Lord they God").
Because the religious believe that their god invented morality and they fancy themselves the preservers and protectors of that morality. To cede ANY of that territory greatly dilutes their value proposition. They want to seem a NECESSARY entity to a moral society, the salt of the earth, without which everything would descend into chaos. If you believe this even a little, then you will cut them all sorts of slack and give them all sorts of undeserved respect and deference in the marketplace of ideas.
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06-06-2015, 11:20 AM
Photo RE: A Natural History of Human Morality (upcoming book)
(05-06-2015 04:07 PM)WalkingSnake Wrote:  Description: Michael Tomasello reconstructs how early humans gradually became an ultra-cooperative and, eventually, a moral species.

hmm....wonder what an ultra-cooperative and moral species looks like....

[Image: atom-bomb-detonation-2.jpg]

[Image: war+crimes.jpeg]

Just gives you that warm and fuzzy doesn't it?
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06-06-2015, 12:51 PM
RE: A Natural History of Human Morality (upcoming book)
The evolution of the use of social strategies as the root of morality is not a new idea.

I don't think Tomasello is peddling anything ground-breaking here but it does look like he is attempting to flesh out a little more detail in this book.

If you are new to the concept of morality as a social strategy then its probably going to be more of a revelation.

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06-06-2015, 12:53 PM
RE: A Natural History of Human Morality (upcoming book)
(06-06-2015 11:20 AM)Matt Finney Wrote:  
(05-06-2015 04:07 PM)WalkingSnake Wrote:  Description: Michael Tomasello reconstructs how early humans gradually became an ultra-cooperative and, eventually, a moral species.

hmm....wonder what an ultra-cooperative and moral species looks like....

[Image: atom-bomb-detonation-2.jpg]

[Image: war+crimes.jpeg]

Just gives you that warm and fuzzy doesn't it?

We are bound by the limits of our tribe, and we will never be a global tribe as long as we are human.

Archi

"I love the term magic realism. It's about expanding how you see the world. I think we live in an age where we're just hammered to think this is what the world is. Everything's saying 'That's the world.' And it's not the world. The world is a million possible things." - TG

Salman Rushdie talks to Terry Gilliam
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06-06-2015, 01:29 PM
RE: A Natural History of Human Morality (upcoming book)
This is what cooperative human beings can do.

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06-06-2015, 02:19 PM
RE: A Natural History of Human Morality (upcoming book)
I'm sure it will be an interesting book. I'm always interested to hear what folks have to say about morality.
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06-06-2015, 03:01 PM
RE: A Natural History of Human Morality (upcoming book)
(06-06-2015 12:53 PM)ArchibaldFunkdust Wrote:  We are bound by the limits of our tribe, and we will never be a global tribe as long as we are human.

Archi

I don't really agree with this line of thinking, there seems to be an overall trend towards globalization. Trading and not killing each other over imaginary lines on a map is a generally a better idea. I do see us getting to global society being a very painful and slow process though unfortunately.

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06-06-2015, 04:40 PM
RE: A Natural History of Human Morality (upcoming book)
(06-06-2015 03:01 PM)Worom Wrote:  
(06-06-2015 12:53 PM)ArchibaldFunkdust Wrote:  We are bound by the limits of our tribe, and we will never be a global tribe as long as we are human.

Archi

I don't really agree with this line of thinking, there seems to be an overall trend towards globalization. Trading and not killing each other over imaginary lines on a map is a generally a better idea. I do see us getting to global society being a very painful and slow process though unfortunately.

I'm not exactly sure what you mean by globalisation but looking at how you have couched your argument you can only really be talking about global capitalism, which, I can assure you, is not built on cooperation. Any sense that this can lead to a kind of 'global society' is naïve in the extreme, but don't take my word for it, just take a look at history.

Archi

"I love the term magic realism. It's about expanding how you see the world. I think we live in an age where we're just hammered to think this is what the world is. Everything's saying 'That's the world.' And it's not the world. The world is a million possible things." - TG

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