Re: ETHICS: Responsability to life

Peter C. McCluskey (
Mon, 23 Mar 1998 17:17:26 -0800 (GBurch1) writes:
>Pinker's contribution to the debate is similar, in his discussion of the
>evolutionary psychology of friendship. Although he doesn't put it in these
>terms, Pinker develops what might be called the ontological basis of a
>rational morality in evolutionary psychology, showing how most of the things
>psychologically healthy people actually value are determined by the fitness
>adaptation of specific behaviors. He comes to a very similar conclusion

I read about 150 pages of "How the Mind Works". While it is a good
introduction for people new to the subjects it covers, I lost interest
because I found nothing new in it.
Here's a something related that I wrote elsewhere in a discussion
of Matt Ridley's book "The Origins of Virtue", a book worth reading: (Lee Corbin) writes:
>3. Therefore, Rand and many libertarians have oversold the virtues
> of selfishness! While we must somehow still defend against the
> poverty that real selflessness would inflict upon society, we must
> evidently praise some kinds of altruism.
> Needless to say, the implications of all this are unclear.

Condemning altruism never made much sense, due to the large number of
actions that can be justified by either selfish or altruistic arguments,
and because praising altruism seems to be evolved into human nature.
I see nothing wrong with encouraging altruism. What we need to attack
is the assumption that altruism is a reliable motivator, and it's
probably better to focus on important instances such as property rights
versus the tragedy of the commons than to argue about more abstract ideas.

Peter McCluskey  |  | Has anyone used           | to comment on your web pages?