Does the Origin of Normativity Stem from the Internalization of Dominance Hierarchies?

Symposion: Theoretical and Applied Inquiries in Philosophy and Social Sciences 2 (4):463–478 (2015)
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Many natural scientists explain the evolutionary origin of morality by documenting altruistic behaviour in our nearest nonhuman relatives. Christine Korsgaard has criticized such attempts on the premise that they do not put enough effort in explaining the capacity to be motivated by normative thoughts. She speculates that normative motivation may have originated with the internalization of the dominance instincts. In this article I will challenge the dominance hierarchy hypothesis by arguing that a proper investigation into how and when dominance inhibits behaviour does not seem to reveal a minimal normative dimension.

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Emilian Mihailov
University of Bucharest


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