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

See all articles by Hendrik Gommer

Hendrik Gommer

CIS Law; University of Groningen

Date Written: April 1, 2014

Abstract

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

Gommer, Hendrik, The Biological Foundations of Global Ethics and Law (April 1, 2014). Archives for Philosophy of Law and Social Philosophy (ARSP), 2014, Vol. 100, nr. 2, p. 151-175. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2457788

Hendrik Gommer (Contact Author)

CIS Law ( email )

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Zuidhorn, Groningen 9801 AS
Netherlands

HOME PAGE: http://www.cislaw.eu

University of Groningen ( email )

P.O. Box 800
9700 AH Groningen, Groningen 9700 AV
Netherlands

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