Philosophical Perspectives on Biosciences: Moral Minds – Norms and their EvolutionBooked Out
Malaysian Theatre B121
Melbourne School of Design
We differ from other mammals, and even other great apes, in many striking ways. We are much more cooperative than any other mammal; in particular, we cooperate with those who are not close relatives. Also, almost all of us recognise the existence of social norms that shape the lives of our social partners, and almost all of us feel some inclination to respect those norms, even when we would better off ignoring them, or when no-one else would know whether we conformed or not.
Those working on the evolution of human cognition and social life are sure there is some important connection between these two facts. Professor Kim Sterelny agrees, and will make a specific proposal about when and why responding to social norms became important in human social life.