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Objective Morality

Allott, Robin (1991) Objective Morality. [Journal (Paginated)]

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Abstract

An objective basis for morality can be found in an evolutionary account of its origin and development. Morality is a key factor in the success of human groups in competition or co-existence with each other.A group's moral code represents an increasingly rational pattern of behaviour derived from the collective experience of the group handed down from generation to generation. Group selection is a controversial idea for animal evolution but it is inescapable in accounting for human evolution under the influence of language and the accumulation of cultural patterns. Morality has an objective physiological and neurological basis in so far as it exists to moderate the expression of the array of genetically-derived emotional patterns. Emotions represent the combination of action tendencies (neural motor programs) with (physiologically-derived) affective concomitants. The relation between emotion, empathy and morality is important. Empathy (a special form of perception still largely unexplained) has a key role both in the formation and cohesion of human groups and in the observance within groups of a moral code. Ultimately observance of moral rules depends on recognition by each individual of an integrating purpose in his life. In so far as the moral code is directed towards achieving this integrating purpose, morality for the individual becomes objective.

Item Type:Journal (Paginated)
Keywords:morality, empathy, purpose
Subjects:Biology > Sociobiology
Biology > Evolution
Psychology > Evolutionary Psychology
ID Code:3242
Deposited By:Allott, R M
Deposited On:24 Oct 2003
Last Modified:11 Mar 2011 08:55

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