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Moralizing biology: the appeal and limits of the new compassionate view of nature

Meloni, Maurizio (2013) Moralizing biology: the appeal and limits of the new compassionate view of nature. [Preprint]

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Abstract

In recent years, a proliferation of books about empathy, cooperation and pro-social behaviors (Brooks, 2011a) has significantly influenced the discourse of the life-sciences and reversed consolidated views of nature as a place only for competition and aggression. In this article I describe the recent contribution of three disciplines – moral psychology (Jonathan Haidt), primatology (Frans de Waal) and the neuroscience of morality – to the present transformation of biology and evolution into direct sources of moral phenomena, a process here named the ‘moralization of biology’. I conclude by addressing the ambivalent status of this constellation of authors, for whom today ‘morality comes naturally’: I explore both the attractiveness of their message, and the problematic epistemological assumptions of their research-programs in the light of new discoveries in developmental and molecular biology.


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Item Type: Preprint
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Meloni, MaurizioMaurizio.meloni@deakin.edu.au0000-0003-2570-3872
Additional Information: Accepted manuscript of Meloni, M. (2013). Moralizing biology: the appeal and limits of the new compassionate view of nature. History of the Human Sciences, 26(3), 82-106. Pls refer to final version at: https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0952695113492163
Keywords: moral psychology, primatology, neuroscience of morality, moral brain, developmental biology
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Cognitive Science > Concepts and Representations
General Issues > History of Philosophy of Science
General Issues > Science and Society
Specific Sciences > Sociology
Depositing User: Dr Maurizio Meloni
Date Deposited: 20 Jul 2020 00:52
Last Modified: 20 Jul 2020 00:52
Item ID: 17565
Official URL: https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/09526...
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Cognitive Science > Concepts and Representations
General Issues > History of Philosophy of Science
General Issues > Science and Society
Specific Sciences > Sociology
Date: 2013
URI: https://philsci-archive-dev.library.pitt.edu/id/eprint/17565

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