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

Meloni, M. (2013). Moralizing biology The appeal and limits of the new compassionate view of nature. History of the Human Sciences July 2013 vol. 26 no. 3 82-106

Abstract: In recent years, a proliferation of books about empathy, cooperation and pro-social behaviours (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 programmes in the light of new discoveries in developmental and molecular biology.

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(Something interesting I found)Posted:Jul 01 2013, 12:00 AM by brendah
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