Originally Published In
Goodenough, U., & Deacon, T. W. (2003). From biology to consciousness to morality. Zygon, 38(4), 801-819. DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9744.2003.00540.x
Social animals are provisioned with prosocial orientations that operate to transcend self-interest. Morality, as used here, describes human versions of such orientations. We explore the evolutionary antecedents of morality in the context of emergentism, giving considerable attention to the biological traits that undergird awareness and our emergent human forms of mind. We suggest that our moral frames of mind emerge from our primate prosocial capacities, transfigured and valenced by our symbolic languages, cultures, and religions.
Portions of this article were given by Deacon in a paper at the forty-ninth annual conference of IRAS, “Is Nature Enough? The Thirst for Transcendence,” Star Island, New Hampshire, 27 July-3 August 2002.
Goodenough, Ursula and Deacon, Terrence W., "From Biology to Consciousness to Morality" (2003). Biology Faculty Publications & Presentations. 85.