A Critical Study of the Descriptive Evolutionary Ethics and the Empirical Ethics

Document Type : Research Paper


Associate prof., University of Qom, Iran


This research is a new attempt in order to study the effect of evolution theory in the dimension of empirical ethics. In the contemporary area the evolutionary ethics is in the three branches: descriptive, prescriptive and meta-ethics. The descriptive evolutionary ethics tries to modify human’s ethical believes in the evolutionary aspect and achieves more share from two others part in this ground. Despite the descriptive evolutionary ethics, the prescriptive evolutionary ethics and meta-ethics deal with normative ethics.
In this article, with the study of the three branches of evolutionary ethics and the separation of empirical ethics of ethics in the normative sense, we believe that despite accepting the biological effects on ethics, there are serious challenges to descriptive evolutionary ethics and it seems that this theory beside potential competitor theories, such as the independent moral thinking could survive. However, this theory is very seriously in conflict with the principles of religious morality.



    1. امینی، علیرضا و جوادی، محسن (1379). معارف اسلامی (2)، قم، نهاد نمایندگی مقام معظم رهبری در دانشگاه‌ها.
    2. باربور، ایان (1374). علم و دین، ترجمۀ بهاءالدین خرمشاهی، تهران، مرکز نشر دانشگاهی.
    3. پترسون، مایکل و دیگران (1376). عقل و اعتقاد دینی، ترجمۀ احمد نراقی و ابراهیم سلطانی، تهران، قیام.
    4. جعفری، محمد تقی (1349). انسان در افق قرآن، اصفهان، انتشارات جهان اسلام.
    5. جوادی آملی، عبدالله (1388). حیات حقیقی انسان در قرآن، قم، مرکز نشر اسراء.
    6. رامین، فرح (1389). تکامل‌گرایی الحادی در بوتۀ نقد، مجلۀ الهیات تطبیقی، دانشگاه اصفهان، سال اول، شمارۀ اول، بهار 1389.
    7. سروش، عبدالکریم (1359). دانش و ارزش (پژوهشی در ارتباط علم و اخلاق)، تهران، باران.
    8. شیروانی، علی (1376). سرشت انسان (پژوهشی در خداشناسی فطری)، قم، نشر معارف.
    9. مرتضوی، عباس (1381). علم و عقل از دیدگاه مکتب تفکیک، قم، مرکز جهانی علوم اسلامی.
    10. میانداری، حسن (1389). رویکرد تکاملی به اخلاق طبیعت، مجلۀ پژوهش‌های اخلاقی، سال اول، شمارۀ اول، پاییز 1389.
      1. Cobbe, F. P. Darwinism in Moral and other Essays. London: Williams and Norgate, 1872.
      2. Darwin, C. The Descent of Man, London: Watts & Co, 1930.
      3. De Waal, F. Primates and Philosophers, Princeton: Princeton University press, 2009.
      4. _________, Good Natured: The Origins of Right and Wrong in Humans and Other Animals, Cambridge. MA: Harvard University press, 1996.
      5. Haidt, J. "The Emotional Dog and Its Rational Tail: A Social Intutionist Approach to Moral Judgment", Rsychological Review 108 (4), 2001.
      6. Huxley, Thomas, H, Evolution and Ethics, NewYork: D Appleton and Co, 1896.
      7. Joyce, R, The Evolution of Morality, Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2006.
      8. Kamm, F. Intricate Ethics: Rights, Responsibilities and Permissible Harm, Oxford: Oxford University press, 2007.
      9. Kitcher, P, "Between Fragile Altruism and Morality: Evolution and The Emergence of Normative Guidance", In, Evolutionary Ethics and Contemporary Biology, Boniolo, G, and De Anna, G, (eds), 2006b.
      10. _________, "Biologhy and Ethics", In, The Oxford Handbook of Ethical Theory, copp, D (ed), Oxford: Oxford University press, 2006a.
      11. Leiter, B. "Nietzscheʼs Theory of The will", Philosopherʼs Imprint, 7 (7).
      12. Miller, R. W, "Moral Realism", In, The Encyclopedia of Ethics, Lawrence C. Becker (ed), New York and London, Garland Publishing, 1992.
      13. Nagle, T. "Ethics Without Biology", In, Moral Question, Cambridge: Cambridge University press, 1979.
      14. Pizarro, D. and Bloom, P. "The Intelligence of The Moral Intuitions: Comments on Haidt (2001)", Psychological Review 110 (1), 2003.
      15. Prinz, J. "Is Morality Innate?" In, Moral Psychology, Sinnott – Armstrong, W, vol 1, 2008.
      16. Rosenberg,A,''Will Genomics Do More for Metaphysics than Loker? In,Evolutionary Ethics and Contemporary Biology,Boniolo,G, andDe Anna,G,Oxford:Oxford University Press,2006.
      17. Sinnott – Armstrong, W. "Moral Intuitionism Meets Empirical Psychology", In, Metaethics After Moore, Horgan, T. and Timmons, M (eds), Oxford: Oxford University press, 2005.
      18. Wilson, E. O, Sociobiology: The new synthesis, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University press, 1975.