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Darwin and the Golden Rule: How To Distinguish Differences of Degree from Differences of Kind Using Mechanisms

Thagard, Paul (2022) Darwin and the Golden Rule: How To Distinguish Differences of Degree from Differences of Kind Using Mechanisms. [Preprint]

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Abstract

Darwin claimed that human and animal minds differ in degree but not in kind, and that ethical principles such as the Golden Rule are just an extension of thinking found in animals. Both claims are false. The best way to distinguish differences in degree from differences in kind is by identifying mechanisms that have emergent properties. Recursive thinking is an emergent capability found in humans but not in other animals. The Golden Rule and some other ethical principles such as Kant’s categorical imperative require recursion, so they constitute ethical thinking that is restricted to humans. Changes in kind have tipping points resulting from mechanisms with emergent properties.


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Item Type: Preprint
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Thagard, Paulpthagard@uwaterloo.ca0000-0002-6594-4761
Keywords: Darwin, ethics, recursion, differences in degree, differences in kind, mechanisms, emergence, tipping points
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Biology
Specific Sciences > Psychology > Evolutionary Psychology
Specific Sciences > Neuroscience > Cognitive Neuroscience
Specific Sciences > Cognitive Science
Depositing User: Dr. Paul Thagard
Date Deposited: 25 Nov 2022 17:06
Last Modified: 25 Nov 2022 17:06
Item ID: 21472
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Biology
Specific Sciences > Psychology > Evolutionary Psychology
Specific Sciences > Neuroscience > Cognitive Neuroscience
Specific Sciences > Cognitive Science
Date: 2022
URI: https://philsci-archive-dev.library.pitt.edu/id/eprint/21472

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