Reply Sun 28 Aug, 2016 01:57 pm
So, after reading Descent of Man, I'm, again, a little confused by Darwin. I don't see why he tries to fit morality, whose end goal is apparently sympathy, with the non-intention of his theory in OS. I understand that sympathy can be advantageous but I don't understand how he supports an evolving morality toward sympathy if his theory isn't intentional.

So why did he contradict his theory? Was he trying to tell people that being sympathetic is good?

 
cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Sun 28 Aug, 2016 01:59 pm
@perennialloner,
The word "sympathetic" is subjective in the context of morality. When involved in a war as a soldier, it's kill or be killed. The pilot who flies a plane full of bombs cannot be "sympathetic" to the people he kills, because they are complete strangers, and he's only following the orders of his commander.
Wars affect people differently. Some suffer from PTSD, and others seem to live normal, happy, lives.
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-491170/Pilot-dropped-atomic-bomb-Hiroshima-dies-regrets.html
perennialloner
 
  1  
Reply Sun 28 Aug, 2016 02:15 pm
@cicerone imposter,
Sure, but that isn't what I'm asking.
0 Replies
 
fresco
 
  2  
Reply Sun 28 Aug, 2016 02:28 pm
@perennialloner,
I suggest that when you say 'end goal', you are confusing 'advantageous exploitative adaptation' with 'planning'.The first is a ' biological systems concept', the second a 'psychological one'. The first is mechanical, the second teleological.
perennialloner
 
  1  
Reply Sun 28 Aug, 2016 02:54 pm
@fresco,
I don't really follow. I thought Darwin says that morality evolves to be more sympathetic. That he believed sympathy was the end goal of morality/people can't turn away from sympathy.

In Chapter 5 he says,

"The aid we feel impelled to give to the helpless is mainly an incidental result of the instinct of sympathy, which was originally acquired as part of the social instincts, but subsequently rendered, in the manner previously indicated, more tender and more widely diffused. Nor could we check our sympathy, even at the urging of hard reason, without deterioration in the noblest part of our nature."
fresco
 
  4  
Reply Sun 28 Aug, 2016 03:26 pm
@perennialloner,
It appears that Darwin was attempting to steer a path between humans as 'mechanically instinctual' and humans as 'free agents' with a sense of 'morality'.
In the context of prevailing religious attitudes to 'free will' at the time, this may have been be inevitable, and still currently figures in the fallback position of 'scientific believers' who accept the mechanics of 'evolution' but claim that only 'the will of God' can account for 'morality'.(see Polkinghorne for that view). Behavioral geneticists would counter that position with concepts like 'the selfish gene' in which so called 'sympathy for the individual' has its origins in protecting the genes common to familial groups. The adage 'charity begins at home' seems to reflect the importance of the distance factor in the exercise of sympathy/empathy as indeed does differential news coverage in the media.
cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Sun 28 Aug, 2016 03:31 pm
@fresco,
Survival of the fittest fills the bill for me!
0 Replies
 
perennialloner
 
  1  
Reply Sun 28 Aug, 2016 03:57 pm
@fresco,
Thank you.
0 Replies
 
rosborne979
 
  1  
Reply Sun 28 Aug, 2016 08:12 pm
@fresco,
Well said.
0 Replies
 
 

 
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