Thursday, February 17, 2011

Peter Singer: Does understanding evolution help us to understand ethics?

Interesting lecture from Peter Singer, author of The Life You Can Save.
As Peter Singer argues in this Sydney Ideas talk, evolution is neutral with regard to values. However understanding evolution does help us to understand human nature, and since the field of ethics is often interested in changing behavior, evolution gives us valuable clues as to what is, or is not, likely to work.

Singer also considers the argument that since our moral sense has evolved, it serves to enhance our reproductive fitness - and hence is not a guide to what is really right or wrong. He argues that there is some truth to this claim, but properly understood, it should lead us to skepticism about some ethical views, but not about ethics itself.

University of Sydney, February 2011

Part 1:

Part 2:

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