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By Robert A. Hinde

Do-unto-others-as-you-would-have-them-do-unto-you. Who may disagree with this "Golden Rule?" We regard it because the foundation of an absolute and common morality. And but it's thought of appropriate to kill the enemy in battle; for a businessman to do the simplest for himself; for a legal professional to argue professionally for a place he could for my part reject. Are the ethical ideas we are living by means of extra versatile than they appear first and foremost sight? In Bending the foundations Robert Hinde doesn't stick with the much-trodden course of philosophizing approximately what's correct and simply. in its place, he makes use of an process grounded within the behavioral sciences to discover the character of morality, what humans truly do, what they suspect to be correct, and what values they carry, and the way those positions got here to be. this sort of deeper figuring out of morality, he argues, as a manufactured from organic and cultural evolution, and altering with social surroundings, holds out desire that we will be able to stay away from catastrophe and steer society in the direction of peace and fairness within the twenty-first century.

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Additional info for Bending the Rules: Morality in the Modern World - From Relationships to Politics and War

Sample text

In the former, the experimenter uses a pack of cards with a letter on one side and a figure on the other. He lays out four cards, thus: D F 3 7 37 The Evolution of Morality He also tells the subjects that there is a rule that a card marked D on one side must have a 3 on the other, thus: the students must say which cards must be turned over to decide if the rule is false. The social rule problem is similar, the rule being ‘You must be over 21 years old if you are drinking beer’ and the cards showing an individual’s age on one side and what he or she is drinking on the other.

The circumstances of our lives force us to be both cooperators and competitors, prosocial as well as antisocial. Our consciences keep us on the right track, but we have ways of circumventing our consciences when we stray. A moment’s introspection forces one to admit that one does use different standards in different contexts. 32 In general, the differences in the norms we live by in our several relationships are dictated by the culture, but are usually also such as to serve our own interests. Usually, but not always.

Machismo traditions and protectiveness towards women are in harmony with this, for men not only compete for mates, but also must protect their mates from the attentions of other men. A female knows that the child in her womb is her own, but a male can be cuckolded. Thus extra-pair mating by a female in a monogamous or polygynous society may result in the male expending parental care on infants that he has not fathered. By contrast, extra-pair mating by a man involves little material 43 The Evolution of Morality disadvantage to his wife, providing he does not expend their resources on other women.

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