The Biological Foundations of Global Ethics and Law
Archives for Philosophy of Law and Social Philosophy (ARSP), 2014, Vol. 100, nr. 2, p. 151-175
26 Pages Posted: 3 Jul 2014 Last revised: 4 Jul 2014
Date Written: April 1, 2014
This article attempts to translate philosophical notions into biological terms in order to transform dualistic thinking into monistic thinking. What if ethics finds its cause in physical, molecular processes? In Ruling Passions Simon Blackburn acknowledges the biological fact that we are social animals and that we need to coordinate our efforts. Therein lies an opportunity for a fruitful discussion about the biological foundation of ethics. Although Blackburn thinks there cannot be a grand unifying theory or a single driving force that underlies ethics, the spreading of our genes may well be the key. As cooperation is the means by which humans have been successfully spreading their genes, ethics in some sense can be regarded as a biological or even a physical force. Recognition of ethics as such a force can help overcome false dichotomies in contemporary ethics and law. Four natural laws of global ethics and law can be formulated on the basis of factual biological mechanisms – natural laws that have remarkable equivalents in religion and contemporary law.
Keywords: is ought, evolutionary ethics, blackburn, natural law, genes
JEL Classification: K33, K10
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation