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Are We Moral Beings

Are We Moral Beings

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Published by Garima Goswamy

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Published by: Garima Goswamy on Oct 09, 2013
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SECTION 1: Moral inquiry: four questions …Completed SECTION 2: Darwin’s Concept of Morality….

Completed have to edit based on comments SECTION 3: analysis of Darwin’s concept of Morality. Check what are the answers to the four questions raised in section 1. SECTION 4: Subjecting Darwin’s theory to Criticisms against Naturalism which puts to doubt if it is a moral theory in the first place. ….haven’t started. SECTION 5: Formulation of a moral theory….incomplete SECTIION 6: Conclusion: Based on section 1,2 and 3…progressing towards the conclusion that we live in a amoral society where there are instances of altruism and egoistic behaviour left unexplained. I think that they cannot be explained in a moral theoy in the first place as that is not the aim of the moral theory…to allow exceptions in the first place, even though altruism intuitively supports the claim that people can be ‘good’. But says nothing for all people to be necessarily good. I have put some thoughts about this in the current unfinished conclusion. Ma’am the yellow points on page 4 -5 is what I intend to do….and have not, yet. However now I am thinking whether to formulate the moral theory at all when the analysis of Darwin’s conception can be based on the the logic of answering the four questions coherently. Then the conclusion would be that at best Darwin’s universe is amoral and hasn’t explained altruism or completely egoistic behaviour…and I can prevent from getting into trouble by making the general claim about all moral theories, even though I think I can present reason to belive that way. But that might get me in trouble if I do not do that fast and correctly. (The reason I still want to include section 5 is because I have worked a lot on it, reading up and all, and I can’t seem to let it go. That might be a little immature a reason though or not. Is it ma’am? ) SECTION1: I want to start a moral inquiry with two related questions which has always crossed my mind: 1. Are we moral beings? 2. What makes us moral? The answer to the first question can either be ‘yes’ or ‘no’ If the answer is yes, then we may further ask: If we are moral beings, then what makes us moral? If the answer is no, then we may still ask ‘what makes us moral?’ for even to believe answer the question negatively means that we have some conception of morality to which

we have not been able to live up to. Morality as well might be a social construct or a fabrication or imaginative category used to explain the mystery of the world just like God maybe. And society may be the reason for this illusion we call morality. And that might just be the case. And here I ponder upon another question: Does Good have the same sense as God? In case it does, is it ever possible to define Good or prove its existence or is Goodness something we believe in like a theist without questioning its origins? When God is concerned we have theists, atheists and agnostics. When Good is concerned we have moralists, immoralists and amoralists. The reason why God and the existence of God is such a sought out topic is to explain the existence (origin) of First Man and the World and/or both. The reason why good is a sought out topic in ethics is to explain the existence of altruistic behaviour of some human beings who will to sacrifice their existence in the blink of an eye for complete strangers. In papers like the Biological Roots to Human Morality: Do we need a New Adaptationist Hypothesis written by Verrell and its reply by Tessman in the paper entitled The Biological Roots to Human Morality one can even see an attempt to show that such altruism is made possible by a hypothesis that the sacrifice is not made for ‘complete’ strangers. Tessman in his paper contends that Darwin (1871) recognized the phenomenon of altruism for what, in part, it remains today: a possible key to our understanding of human morality. I think on the contrary that the underlying basis of most Western Classical Ethical Moral codes like Kant’s Deontology, Mill’s Utilitarian approach and Aristotle’s Virtue ethics is just to prevent the two extremes of egotism as well as altruism as the success of their theories depend on recognizing no distinctions but similarities in the behaviour of people by laying a moral ground to be lived up to. I think on the other hand that a successful Moral theory will have no place for altruism in so far as it is implemented with the codifiers of ‘duty’ and will only recognize a completely egoistic act as immoral. The fact that we do have altruism not only as the key for understanding morality but the highest moral parameter, shows that the theory is flawed and is at best a hypothesis if it is too hard to be lived up to or leaves an empirical feature unexplained based on accepted axioms or the assumptions that make the premises of its moral theory. Darwin’s thesis of ‘Morality as Inheritance’ in the Chapter V of Descent of Man seems to be based on such a failed attempt to ask: Is self preservation contrary to sacrifice?

Moral Definition for Darwin: Morality is a feature of human beings due to being rational and social and it is an attribute that is inherited through generations. Even though we might be able to answer the first question differently, the ability to even answer this question indicates that we do have a conception of morality or a moral sense: a sense of right and wrong, which is determined with respect to action or conduct and motives. What makes us aware of a moral sense? Feelings like sympathy and guilt Then there is always a possibility that the first question does not have a ‘yes-no’ answer at all but something intermediately, for there are also the possibility to raise similar questions in relation to immoral or amoral. An immoral person is different from an amoral person. An immoral person while subscribing to the fact that he is not a moral person may still believe that there are moral beings, and so it will be very hard for him/him to answer the question ‘are we moral beings?’ S/He might say that there are moral beings, but I am not one of them. An amoral person is someone who denies the existence of morality and not just a person who violates a certain code. Intuitively one may think that the Amoralist will answer ‘No’ with respect to the first question. But I think that it is more probable that the amoral person will consider both these questions redundant to begin with. An immoralist may just ask ‘I do not understand your questions.’ Amoral persons either do not possess ethical notions at all as a result of social conditioning and might be labeled with anti social personality disorders or are just different if not anti-social in so long as they do not subscribe to any moral code in a world where a link is seen between society and morality, or moral codes to be specific. Does this mean an amoralist does not have a distinction with regards to actions and the beliefs that might be based on those actions or might be the base of those actions? I do not think so. S/he may have a subjective conception and may perform actions that do not get codified into a universally applicable system but might impact in it. After all actions performed by an amoralist are not to be found in free

space or vacuum but will occur in the society which will be shared by some if not all. as there is no answer to the fourth question. what ought to be the case and what happens to be the case coherently. I will also show that the Darwin’s naturalism cannot be subscribed the conception of morality in the first place…… even if one might not assent to the module of the basic standard moral theory. which should be answered if the third question is to be answered in the affirmative. At best Darwin’s moral theory is not successful moral theory too as it leaves the empirical evidence of altruism and egoistic behaviourial types unexplained. Just as a triangle drawn on paper is different from a triangle in three dimentional space. I think that ‘ought’ and ‘is’ occur in two different realms altogether and ironically man has always tried to bring them together in order to understand both. At best Darwin has not finished what he started. based on the very essential conception of morality. And then I will ask the question if we really need that basic model in so long as does the conceptual necessity fulfill the criterion of empirical investigation in the context of morality. The answer to the third question seems to be wrong. is not a successful moral theory in so long as it still leaves the empirical evidence of altruism and completely egoistic behaviours unexplained. An amoralist might make a stronger point that moral systems are arbitrary and unfounded on the whole. which for Darwin was. This is a claim which I think I might conclude with respect to Darwin’s conception of Morality after investigating that it does not run past what I consider a basic standard moral theory. which is an epistemic or anthropological claim and not an ethical one. I think that ‘ought’ . The standard Moral theory. Can what ‘one ought to do’ ever be realizable in ‘what one does infact do’. Well actually Darwin’s theory fails at appropriately answering the four question I put in a moral inquiry.

the fourth question of my moral inquiry: 4. Conversely those who maintain that human beings are naturally good and just have to show that the root to arrive at this conception is not through exceptional cases of heroes and saints but applicable to all. Now that is something even Clifford would not agree to. One may wonder in a practical way as Motherstill suggests. And here I repeat the question: 3. if we always do what is right. But this affirmation is then to be proceeded by the question. Motherstill considers it likely that such truism is amongst the incentives which lead philosophers to construct general theories of morality.can never be translated as ‘is’ for they occur in two different dimensions. What methods are appropriate to moral education? . and our actions will be based on our unjustified beliefs. since then the uniqueness condition of rationality as to be moral being will be in question. then there will be no need or point in thinking. Is there a point to try to institute moral reforms in the light of past performances? She points out that to take it as a given that ‘Human history’ according to Voltaire for instance ‘is a record of crimes against humanity. Is there a point to try to institute moral reforms in the light of past performances? (This is the third question in my moral inquiry and is based on Motherstill’s reading about the issue). The optimistic answer is yes.’ Exceptions to this conception leads one to proclaim that if some people are not setting criminal records against humanity and preserve standards of charity and justice under stress. There can also be no complete translation between what is the case to what ought to be the case. in the light of past performances. If we do what we ought to do. then it is reasonable to suppose that everyone does not has to relive Voltaire’s conception of human history.

DARWIN’S CONCEPTION OF MORALITY Morality has been an enigma since time immemorial and in Darwin’s Descent of Man we see a naturalistic attempt to solve it. then one should consider whether there is something wrong in the requirement of morality itself. consider how morality works in the amoral society. of whether society can behave in the moral way to begin with in the first place. mostly a disjunctive operator comes into picture only in a society with conflicting options due to different agents involved with respect to the actions performed and to be performed. Let me paint a picture of Darwin’s conception of morality. let alone whether such behaviour pattern may be necessitated considering the conception of survival of the fittest and natural selection. That is a possible solution to this paper too. and it still remains one for Darwin based on my readings of his work as I understand it. Accordingly moral conduct is action based on making correct choices (based on moral sense) to perform those actions. In the process I intend to do the following tasks: • • • find a moral definition. That is why in the failure of the moral test to Darwin’s theory still opens another avenue of investigation. Choice. Morality is an enigma for me. However if the answer to the third question in the moral inquiry (of the point of instituting moral reform) is no. Very frequently the options of right and wrong coincide with altruistic and selfish aspects. and see if altruistic and egoistic behaviour can be explained within his conception. Or so we are led to believe.This is the question I wish to raise too in this paper and apply the methods I find to Darwin’s conception of morality. It is definitely important . (if it works at all that is). A very basic understanding of morality includes a sense of right and wrong. failing to serve the purpose. It may also be shown to be the case that the examination which I have set for the Darwin’s theory of Morality is one which nobody or almost nobody had a hope of passing will turn out to be defective.

he introduced an ‘ought’ condition with morality: You have to be moral to live in the world. But to even pose this question. as in man. heroic monkeys. Darwin gave a lot of emphasis to social instinct in the developmental process of animals. In fact. one needs to have a clear idea of what is meant by Morality in the first place or at least be acquainted with the conception of Morality to which Darwin ascribed to. The social instincts of parental and filial care gives rise to a moral consciousness according to Darwin as intellectual powers become more and more developed. and of approving and .’ Interestingly Darwin not only subscribes to the notion of a moral sense within morality. and states instances of dogs. but uses it as a criterion of demarcation between man and lower animals. This is indicated by the use of the phrase… ‘as soon as its intellectual powers had become as well. protective herds. a highly intellectual being. etc. Darwin also quotes Mackintosh and remarks that Moral sense has a rightful supremacy over every other principle of human action. or nearly as well developed. This section is an attempt to explicate Darwin’s conception of Morality. we find that in this chapter Darwin presents us with a definition of moral being. This is ironical since he goes on to specify the being one is ought to risk one’s life for. In fact this is perhaps why he has entitled the chapter which deals with moral sense ‘Comparison of the Mental Powers of Man and the Lower Animals’.and an inherent feature of Man. Interestingly even though the chapter is entitiled ‘Comparisons of the mental powers of Man and Lower Animals’ Darwin makes Man as the moral standard in so far as intellectual development is concerned.’ And even though Darwin does mention a lot about the mental powers of lower animals including emotions like sympathy and love which are products of social instincts and are strengthened to varying degrees. This is primarily due to the first step towards morality starting from social instincts and not only within a society. I will leave it out for the purpose of this paper. And in the specific case of man. Darwin opens the chapter where he introduces morality with a rather romantic image of man’s sacrifice as a duty towards his fellow being. ‘A moral being as one who is capable of comparing his past or future actions or motives.

endowed with well marked social instincts. 1. Habit too helps to regulate the conduct of an individual. ‘Any animal whatever.disapproving of them. Darwin defines social instinct (together with sympathy) strengthened by habit. It then becomes important to present the role of social instincts in morality which seemed probable to a high degree to Darwin. Charles Darwin. as soon as its intellectual powers had become as well. or nearly as developed. 2. ‘Chapter IV’. Social instincts include memories of past actions such as feeling of dissatisfaction. would acquireexactly the same moral sense as ours. Intersubjectivity due to language acquisition in society allow for common expression of public good and becomes a guide to action. Darwin comments that even a dog who rescues a child out of water for instance would not be considered to be a moral being. pg 87. or even misery which may result from unsatisfied instincts. since his action would be not driven by motives but maybe instincts. Here once can take a case of a timid dog about which Darwin mentions who is too 1 2 Charles Darwin. 4. ‘Chapter IV’. pg 78. Descent of Man. if its intellectual faculties were to become as active and as highly developed as in man. Just as Darwin defines a Moral being he defines social instinct. Darwin emphasizes four points with regards to social instincts. 3. as in man. Sympathy becomes the foundation stone for social instincts if not for being a moral being.’ 2 This is not to say that instincts do not play a role or might not play a role in morality. Darwin is also careful to mention that any ‘strictly social animal. would inevitably acquire a moral sense or conscience. consequently leading to the obedience to the wishes and judgment of the community.’1 By claiming that there is no evidence to suppose that any lower animals have this capacity. The proposition being that: …. Social instincts lead an animal to feel the pleasure and the pains of its fellow beings. Hence habit comes into this picture. Descent of Man. . the parental and filial affections being included.

from a descriptive account of what is the case.weak to prevent his mistress to be beaten but is sympathetic in so long as he licks her after the pretentious beating gets over. which is inherent in social and intellectual beings. However if this is true. There would be no evil then. which is mainly the task of all moral philosophy: to live in a good world where people do what is important to make the world a good place. the parameters lie within the social structure. instead of asking those being to follow one. as well as the parameters Darwin sets forth for morality in order to prevent with a clash of the principle of Natural selection he has subscribed in his other major work. Not only do we see a reflection of Kantian Deontological Ethics over here. that of survival of the fittest. And if species compete in order to survive or to get the tag of the ‘fittest’ there is nothing wrong with that. While the moral principle subscribed to is ought. So there is no evil. one has to admire the honesty of Darwin to try to ascribe to a social conception of morality that might not only work but according to him may be the case. that is. but only man’s desire to live according to the principle of natural selection. However what Darwin is saying is slightly different. Darwin asks some questions: Why should man feel that he ought to obey certain instinctive desires? Why does he feel regretful if he has a strong sense of self . we can also see that it is quite comprehendible with sociological implications of living in the society. if Darwin has remained really honest. In philosophy one sees a shift from what ought to be the case to what is the case. the world works on a few dynamics such as that of natural selection and morality and so long it is a good world where man is anyways doing what ought to be done. However Darwin seems to take the opposite route. Moral sense for Darwin is summed up in one word: ‘ought’. And while one may raise doubts regarding the ought condition. Origin of species. there may be an equivalence between the normative and the descriptive. His move is certainly admirable since if he is able to explain the moral structure of society. And more than often moral theories are designed to move from normative to the descriptive. based on evolutionary psychology he is moving to establish what happens to be the case. something strange follows.

whether performed deliberately. which in fact Darwin did think it is.’ In an attempt to answer why one may feel regretful after self gratification and not doing a moral deed instead when it comes in conflict with self interest.‘But these feelings and services are by no means extended to all the individuals of the same species. one has to the specificity of the receptor of such a moral act. If one may consider this act to be altruistic. who alone can with certainty be ranked as a moral being.’ Out of the three examples of different strengths of instinctive desires. He emphasizes that the nature of the strength of such feelings like remorse. In the process he also defines conscience as that which looks backward and serves as a guide to future action. but partly on the strength of the temptation. shame and the like does not depend so much on the violated instinct. actions of a certain class are called moral. Darwin adds this while giving the definition of a moral being. Here he takes three examples: that of a savage who would risk his life for a community member but not a stranger. and often still more on the judgment of fellows.. This also allows room for self preservation. a young and timid mother who would risk her life to save her son but not some stranger. . and a civilized man who has disregarded self preservation in a heroic act if saving somebody else’s life. or impulsively through instinct. only to those of the same association. This is evident is also evident from the examples Darwin sighted regarding instincts as also something he mentions in the text in the section of social instinct at an earlier place…. the third one might in fact be deliberative and instinctive only due to a habit of what might be framed as a right conception to do when one sees someone weaker in danger as also an act of deliberation super ceding the instinct of self preservation in the process.preservation and has not risked his life to save that of a fellow creature? Why does he regret having stolen food from hunger? To answer the first question Darwin subscribes to the thought regarding varying degrees of strength in so far as instinctive desires are concerned. Darwin brings in the opinion of others with respect to what is good in order to induce shame on the doer. after a struggle with opposing motives. or from the effects of slowly-gained habit. He says that ‘But in the case of man.

3. While this makes it understandable that individuals of a society ought to do certain things as rules of conduct. but need not necessarily be a moral factor. though some of them when implying self-sacrifice . That he must avoid disapprobation at all cost. The lower rules. It may incidentally agree with moral virtues. The impervious word ought for Darwin seems merely to imply the consciousness of the existence of a rule of conduct. Darwin considers it more appropriate to understand Mill’s Greatest Happiness Principle as a standard and not as the motive of conduct. whether reasonable or not. however it may have originated (I have italisized the last part). The higher are founded on the social instincts. Motive of conduct in Darwin is that of self preservation. Whether self preservation includes the notion of morality is questionable. Darwin states very obviously that every man with an easy conscience gratifies his own desires. if they do not interfere with his own instincts. They are supported by the approbation of our fellowmen and by reason. Not withstanding many sources of doubt. 1. and relate to the welfare of others. 2. man can generally and readily distinguish between the higher and lower moral rules. it is almost necessary for him to avoid the disapprobation. of his fellow being. But it is something which Darwin looks into at length in the next chapter of Descent of Man. or at least of anxiety. Ascribing to establish some deontological principle as the base of the social structure of a moral society. even at that of reason is one factor which of self preservation. However in an attempt to combine the social with the moral Darwin distinguishes between higher and moral rules. that is with the good of others. they may not in fact be moral rules since it seems the moral parameters may vary across societies.Three things that Darwin mentions in this chapter makes his conception of morality more social than what would be otherwise considered to be moral. but in order to be quite free from self reproach.

When such a ‘fittest’ witnesses someone or some species who are not able to similarly survive one is inclined to feel the need to help that someone or some species. not only in the case of lower animals but in terms of sympathy being a moral acquisition. ‘Survival of the fittest’ is a condition of self preservation. will through long habit acquire such perfect self-command. The degree of help one may be liable to do due to sympathy too may vary indeed according to the standards of self preservation. including his feeling for the judgment of his fellows. seems to be one of the latest moral acquisitions. that his desires and passions will at last yield instantly and without a struggle to his social sympathies and instincts. matured by experience and cultivation……3 This idea of higher and lower moral rules seem to be similar to reflective and customary morality respectively. According to Darwin. There is no denying that a first person understanding of pain and pleasures may be the cause of this feeling but to call it a virtue would be only applicable in Darwin’s Vocabulary of natural selection. This is why Darwin probably says that ‘Man prompted by his conscience. ‘Chapter IV’. 5 Charles Darwin. Descent of Man. it most certainly is a reward and adds to the definition of the ‘fittest’ indeed. 96. relate chiefly to self. within the society.’5 3 4 Charles Darwin.hardly deserve to be called lower. ‘Chapter IV’ pg. Charles Darwin. ‘Chapter IV’ pg. Be that as it may to be Darwin’s conception of sympathy. that is. pg 91 . Descent of Man. ‘Sympathy beyond the confines of man.’ 4 I have serious reservation about this. a synonym of ‘sympathy’ is English Language is ‘pity’ and in Darwin’s world to pity somebody would be to pity someone weaker where the rule is survival of the fittest. While that may not be seen as a sign of moral motivation. 96. Within the notion of self preservation one can also include the notion of being praised for one’s actions in the society towards the fellow beings. ‘Sympathy lies in our strong retentiveness of stronger states of pain or pleasure’. humanity to the lower animals. and arise from public opinion. Descent of Man.

At the same time it allows scope for being a truly moral being. one diminishes ceases to survive. Having discussed the role and connection of social instincts with moral conscience at length in Chapter IV. To better understand what is meant by the previous paragraph one may ask a simple question: Is self preservation contradictory to self sacrifice in Darwin? Darwin does however subscribe to a very conventional understanding of ethics too including moments of self sacrifice. And one would presume that in such a scenario self sacrifice would pose a problem in so long as in self sacrifice to an extent of dying for saving someone else. the particular individual would not be able to survive in the noble deed. This finds its basis in sexual selection which is a sub set. as Darwin categorized it in Chapter IV of The Origin of Species. What is apriori is the living condition where man lives with other members of his species as well as members of other species. allowing man to sacrifice himself for altruistic purpose without any regret since there is a possibility that his characters will guess passed on even if he. In this way. This is not the case. He does mention though that the name of such a man for instance will live in his community in the form of the progeny he leaves behind.Morality. And that it must also contain a synthetic element is obvious as to be moral is not only to have a sense of right and wrong but to act according to that moral sense. Here what we may find to be a little disturbing is that in Darwin’s world Morality is inherited based on the synthetic character of moral action one may wish to subscribe to. Mostly this is reflected in his understanding of morality as an inherited feature. uses the concept of inheritance to explain the development of the Intellectual and Moral faculties. according to Darwin. Darwin being consistent with inheritance as a feature of the evolutionary model he subscribes to in Origin of Species. Darwin proceeds to discuss about the moral faculties of man in the next chapter. if it has to be structured in society has to be synthetic a priori. However that ‘morality is inherited’ is a view that is important for Darwin to maintain. since it coheres with his views of natural selection. he also succeeds to . He does not ascribe immortality to his martyrs. if you will of natural selection.

which when slaughtered was found to be valuable. Moreover Darwin did set the arena for the formulation of the conception of a eugenic society which is an ethical issue in itself. and in a very small tribe decidedly better. the tribe would still include their blood relations. spread and supplant other tribes. a version of intellectual and moral characteristics based on inheritance has been critical issue in the name of caste system where superiority was subscribed to Brahmans. more sagacious than others. Darwin continues to sat that ‘In a tribe thus rendered more numerous. subscribes to what may be politically incorrectly called ‘the breeding of man. pg 101. the desired character had been obtained. If the new intention is of much significance. who invents a tool.’ 7 Darwin does not only seem to distinguish men from lower animals but by latching on to the aspect that man in fact is still an animal. Darwin stresses a lot the perfection of arts which are products of the intellect and attributes this selection to the concept of Natural selection. and made without the assistance of much reasoning power. However. During the lifetime 6 7 Charles Darwin. thus attributing individuality to him. If such men left children to inherit their mental superiority. ‘Chapter V’. . This tool may be a product of self interest or self preservation. will soon be imitated by others who might also profit from it. and it has been ascertained by agriculturists that by preserving and breeding from the family of the animal. One may think of nuclear weapons as one such tool in this tribal ‘contemporary’ world we live in. ‘Chapter V’.explain the variation seen in morality across different societies as well as within each society. the tribe would increase in number. Descent of Man. Descent of Man. as he further goes on to say that ‘Even if there were no children. the chances of the birth of still more indigenous members be somewhat better. there would always be a rather greater chance of the birth of other superior and inventive members. He takes an example of a man in a tribe. pg 101 Charles Darwin.’ The latter will also include the breeding of intellectual and moral characteristics as life of the species of man continues in what Darwin calls the Struggle for existence in Origin of Species.’6 The notion of ‘Inheritance of mental superiority questionable’ for Darwin at the time had little recourse to genetics in the mid 1800s.

man and society Buddha can be seen as completely contradicting Darwin’s premises. But no one. In the Aggana Sutta. but there is no such difference seen among humans with similarities in their morphological structures neither with regard to the body or any organ of it.of Gotama Buddha for instance the Brahman caste was singled out as the highest. The Ambatta Sutta of the Digna Nikaya tells that Buddha himself was victimized with the Brahmin polemics where false distinctions were made due to arrogance and conceited belief of the purity of a person based on Origin by birth. whose proponents were born out of Brahma’s foot. not by Birth does one become a Brahman. reptiles to mammals. Darwin or anyone else can deny there to be similarities in human beings’ physiology where the difference are based on variation of DNA. with studies of the morphological structures of extinct species of dinosaurs for instance. then in Indian Ethics. Evolution may be able to bridge a link between plants and animals by algae and fungi and evolutionary studies may show the transition of birds. dark. ‘Not by Birth does one become an outcaste. The Sonananda Sutta for instance boils down supremacy of man (Brahman) to wisdom and morality. impure. . but the organ and the morphological structures is the same barring congenital diseases and ailments as life progresses for different men in different environments. Buddha argued that among the various plants differences may be found. While his contention is not to built a Superman or idealise a Eugenic Plationic society. fair. Darwin’s contention seems to be the very opposite. so might differences by birth may be seen among the various animals for a four footed animal was different from a fish. Early Buddhism despite a rather aggressive approach while dealing with topics such as caste system implicitly upheld secularism itself in such a way that it remained a symbol of supremacy nevertheless. purified and the proponent of the same were mythological considered as the true heir of Brahma born from his mouth as opposed to the rest who were by exclusion base. his endevour atleast in Chapter V of Descent of Man seems to be to study the origin of both wisdom (intellectual faculty) and ethics ( moral faculty) from birth and social and environmental conditions of survival and competition. No one was a Brahman or a non Brahman by birth. Buddha clearly wished to shift the focus of caste’s origin from birth to ethics. which much like Darwin deals with the evolution of the world.

. Subscribing to such a thought leads to a paradox which in fact Darwin does raise in his own words in Descent of Man. would on an average perish in larger numbers than other men.e. and who freely risked their lives for others. would be reared in greater numbers than the children of selfish and treacherous parents belonging to the same tribe. pg 103) Even though Darwin attempts to resolve this problem in Chapter V of Descent of Man. or that the standard of their excellence.By deed one becomes an outcaste. would often leave no offspring to inherit his noble nature. who were always willing to come to the front in war. He who was ready to sacrifice his life. Descent of Man. it hardly seems probable that the number of men gifted with such virtues. The bravest men. for we are not here speaking of one tribe being victorious over another. Therefore. Even in the chapter on the ‘Development of the Intellectual and Moral faculties’ he consents that variation in a degree of social virtues is necessary for instance for the victory of one tribe over another but it does not help us understand how such virtues arise in the first place. There he had worded a problem by proclaiming that the mere existence of individual varieties. that is. by the survival of the fittest. as many a savage has been. rather than betray his comrades. by deed one becomes a Brahman’ (Vasala Sutta. or of those who were the most faithful to their comrades. could be increased through natural selection. Sutta Niputa) Incidentally this is exactly what Darwin is questioning or rather tracing back to inheritance-the deeds keeping in mind the superiority due to inheritance i. what is very interesting is Darwin seems to have the same thought process with respect to social and moral qualities and the same confusion regarding the Origins he had when he wrote The Origin of Species. though necessary as a foundation of his work (origin of species) helps little in understanding how species arise in nature. It is extremely doubtful whether the offspring of the more sympathetic and benevolent parents. due to birth. (Chapter V.

but a small number can survive.’ 9Here the latter phrase ‘order to mark its relation to man’s power of selection’ can be understood in terms of ethical action which needs to be selected out of the choices which life confronts us 8 9 Charles Darwin. The offspring. however slight and from whatever cause proceeding. in its infinitely complex relations to other organic beings and to external nature. sympathy and fidelity or faithfulness to which one may add obedience as the highest value in a social set up. through natural selection aided by inherited habit. if it be in any degree profitable to an individual of any species. . of the many individuals of any species which are periodically born. will thus have a better chance of surviving. Charles Darwin. page 102. I have called this principle. June 1999.The problem it seems to me is that Darwin has ascribed social qualities as moral qualities in an attempt to find the origin of morality in society instead of recognizing that moral qualities are by definition and by empirical requirement social qualities and not the other way round. if useful. The Origin of Species(1859). Social qualities like courage. is preserved. pg 53. ‘ Owing to the struggle for life. and will generally be inherited by its offspring. any variation. for. Bantan Books. Natural selection depends on the Struggle for existence within a society. Descent of Man. But as Darwin asks ‘it may be asked how within the same tribe did a large number of members first became endowed with social and moral qualities and how was the standard of excellence raised?’ 8 Here again it can be seen how Darwin talks about social and moral qualities together seeking how the social qualities are cultivated as moral qualities within the individual propelling action and forming the adhesive force to keep the tribe together and help its succeed. also. strengthens more in one tribe (which succeeds) over another (other circumstances being equal) tribe in competition. in order to mark its relation to man’s power of selection. It is important to understand what Darwin meant by Natural Selection and how it is or can be applicable to the case of ‘Inheritance of Morality’ to solve the problem Darwin himself posed in order to explain the Development of the Intellectual and Moral faculties. Chapter III. by which each slight variation. ‘Chapter V’. by the term Natural Selection. will tend to the preservation of that individual.

If one may ask who decides favourable variations as opposed to injurious variations in terms of ethics.e. is the phrase ‘this principle. the apriori structure of society where man finds himself. if useful. ‘…and can adopt organic beings to his own uses. The criterion of selection action and efforts of man allows one to form a synthetic a priori structure of ethics within society. Within the apriori structure of the ‘Struggle for existence’ Darwin calls the preservation of favourable variations and the rejection of injurious conditions Natural Selection. This is clear from the proceeding lines from the same paragraph. and is an immeasurably superior to man’s feeble efforts. . and the fact that success of progeny is a criterion to sustain the struggle for existence.’ 10 If one wonders whether morality is an art. as the works of Nature are those of arts. including the dependence of one being on another. is preserved. Another notion which can be extracted out from this passage in terms of ethics. Here one can understand existence of individuals as a present condition and the struggle as well as the interactive process and hence dependence of one being on another as an apriori condition. But incidentally that plays a motivational role in Darwin’s conception of morality for one to perform altruistic actions in so long as the fame lives on even after an act of self sacrifice. the answer most probably would be whatever sustains the struggle for existence i. Chapter III. pg 53. The Origin of Species(1859). Bantan Books. But Natural Selection is a power incessantly ready for action. However even this criterion of selection is bounded or considered dependent on nature. through the accumulation of slight but useful variations.’ The if then criteria is one of utility. by which each slight variation. Since there are many 10 Darwin. and including not only the life of an individual but success in leaving a progeny. ‘We have seen that man by selection can produce great results…’ (like success of one tribe superior in values over another tribe when other circumstances are equal).with and at the cross roads to proceed towards the future with direction presented to us. Darwin uses the term ‘Struggle for existence’ in a large and metaphorical sense. June 1999. This is my interpretation of understanding of the connection between the struggle for existence in a social set up. given to him by the hand of Nature. What I find troublesome is the criterion of leaving a progeny behind. a product of the intellect according to Darwin one would be wrong. as a social set up and morality or action to do what is right or wrong.

Resolving conflicts either by elimination or isolation will at best lead to moral relativism or maybe just relativism where there will be as many conceptions of moral sense as there would be societies. This for Darwin and other evolutionaries like Mr Spenser (author of Data for Ethics) and Leslie Stephen (author of Science of Ethics) is embedded social instinct. for Darwin a human recognition of "an impulsive power widely different from a search after pleasure or happiness. synonymous of good and bad will be levied by the society. even in history.societies which work on different principles. moral relativism may be ascribed to Darwin’s conception of morality." it is true. under the conditions to which they are subjected. The result of reflection oil human conduct and its motives is. "usually coincide ". For Darwin general good may be conceived of rearing of the greatest number of individuals in full vigour and health. If sympathy is the foundation of social instincts. The "general good or welfare" and the "general happiness. with all their faculties perfect. and even a small percentage of the individuals contributing to a conflict come together and live in the universe based on Darwinian principles of the principle of sexual selection and procreation or the biological nature of morality. DARWIN’S CONCEPTION OF MORALITY: AN ANALYSIS . This would allow there to be dormant issues which may get triggered as novel issues in ethics once the name tag of useful or injurious. A relativism is then associated with the conception of good depending on the environments humans are subjected to. then ‘do into others as others would do unto you’ is the foundation stone of Morality for Darwin which allows thoughts of praise and blame to be the cause of following a moral standard in a society. The object of this instinct is "the general good or welfare of the community. then that would lead to a creation of another society ascribing to a different set of moral codes. rather than the general happiness ". But if they do not coincide. Elimination and isolation has never worked. Varieties neither useful nor injurious would not be affected by natural selection. even though it seems to be the pre requisite to form a utopia.

his approach towards morality takes too much for granted for an evolutionary biologist. But he has given no reason to show why that is sufficient to make humans moral either. Here we see a divergence of his original aim to write the book Descent of Man. And the fact that the Darwin confessed the ambiguity of Morality in the chapters dedicated to it. it is found in a subset of intellectuality or rationality which is contained in the set of social instincts and rationality is what makes Morality specie specific giving humans the unique characteristics. Interestingly in Darwin we see the convergence of both the first and the second question of moral inquiry as the answer of rests on Reason and Society and is a clear indicator of a naturalistic approach towards sociobiology in terms of ethics. That again is a presumption. It was meant to verify what he had proposed in Origin of Species and not to explain morality based on the findings of his earlier work. Yes. His research has cited cases where animals have shown signs of sympathy and brotherhood or sisterhood towards fellow creatures like humans but according to him. as we had see in the previous section. If however one can prove that many moral acts are done more out of habit or moral characteristics are inherited from generation to generation by the process of sexual selection then there the criterion of moral acts and moral characteristics as being consciously done acts can be thrown in doubt. then says a lot. Incidentally these are both the notions Darwin subscribed to in his conception of morality: that of habit and inheritance. which he believes is inherent in social and intellectual beings. We (human beings) and we alone are moral beings. I am just saying that the possibility of such a case has been overlooked during . Not only did Darwin diverted from the aim of the book. Darwin’s answer to the second question of my moral query: ‘What makes us moral?’ is Society and intellectual powers. that is not sufficient to make animals moral. I am not contending that Morality has to be ascribed to animals or that reason is over rated. It is due to such a consideration that Darwin would not consider a Dog who saved a drowning child’s life a hero but would consider if the act was incidentally done by a human being. Morality then is domain specific.Darwin’s response to the first question of a moral inquiry (Are we moral beings?) is. Darwin’s approach is to explain the moral structure.

. In man. On these differences is based the distinction between the actual and the legitimate strength of an impulse. Moreover reason is a part of Darwin’s first two answers to my moral inguiry which does not get over with Darwin’s ability to answer but his ability to answer coherently if not correctly. and. He then questions : how shall we account for the peculiar authority of the moral. . He will then feel remorse. The imperious word . more or less firmly. feelings ? He asks why does man regret doing following one instinct rather than another? Why does he feel that he ought to regret his conduct? Instead of answering this question J Seth seems to pose it only rhetorically to show that animals might not undergo these questions to begin with. afford a greater satisfaction than the latter. The social instincts. to man as a social being. J Seth answers as follows: ‘As a reflective being." "Thus at last man comes to feel." while the others are in their nature "temporary ". He will consequently resolve. are " ever present and persistent. he finds. The former are also more capable of being recalled in imagination. and by his deep regard for the good opinion of his fellows. it is more complicated.Darwin’s research and I am just questioning his premise of man being rational. and this is conscience. what will be his experience as he regards this gratification in the calm light of reflection ? " When past and weaker impressions are judged by the ever-enduring social instinct. to act differently for the future. regret or shame. retribution will surely come. Based on his understanding of Darwin’s conception of Morality James Seth has made an attempt to answer the question of Morality as being of significant difference between Man and Lower animals. through acquired and perhaps inherited habit. the social. For animals the preference of impulses is based on the relative strength of impulses. . since that has not been questioned. he cannot help instituting a comparison between the results which follow the gratification of his various impulses. repentance. that is. In The Evolution of Morality James Seth interprets Darwin’s understanding of natural selection and social instincts to conclude that ‘The social instincts are not actually stronger than "the instincts of selfpreservation’. Let a man gratify a peremptory selfish instinct. that it is best for him to obey his more persistent impulses.

In this category I include the extremes of ego-centric behaviour where the perpetrator of a crime feels no remorse at all. No 53. In order to investigate the relationship between the moral and the social it is important to base the explanation of empirical evidence of there being the two extremes besides the in betweens of egoistic and altruistic behaviours. This I believe is 11 Altruistic people can be considered to be those anti social elements that seem to lack a self preserving conscience’. Thus. If J Seth has introduced a term of moral conscience with respect to following or abstaining to follow social instincts.but Darwin himself distinguishes it carefully from Hedonism.ought seems merely to imply the consciousness of the existence of a rule of conduct. At best a dualism is then offered James Seth. Incidentally altruistic people might also be included as anti social if I may be allowed to extend the notion of third person to first person. then he should or someone else should also form a term to address self preservation. giving me a chance to lay the ground of the point that most moral theories endevour to preach conduct that won’t be applicable to the two extremes. Jan 1889. or can be offered. however it may have originated. What Darwin’s Morality talks about is the ‘in-betweens’ even though it started with investigating the extremes. If this interpretation of Darwin’s position is true. The Evolution of Morality. whether of the egoistic or altrruistic type. pg 28 . In so far as that is the case. Darwin has failed to answer the question he posed: Is self preservation contradictory to sacrifice the extreme case of which would include both the types: egoistic and altruistic. It does not explain or even begin to consider that some humans might not feel a sense of remorse to not follow social instincts instead of those of self preservation and would not have a moral conscience in that sense of the term."’11 What must be remembered is that J Seth’s answer is based on sociobiological consideration of morality where morality and society are entwined together and the fact that remorse will follow is the hope against anti social elements prevalent in society. then we see Darwin evade the initial investigation of explaining human social behaviour as moral. J Seth in The Evolution of Morality remarks that Darwin’s position may be called Utilitarian . and I have no reason to believe why it is not. may be a ‘self preserving conscience’. from Mind vol 14.

Is there a point to try to institute moral reforms in the light of past performances? The answer is ‘no’. what we call the moral. Darwin calls the legal.) The world in which we live is not immoral (as there are cases of altruism and cases considered to fit within the appropriate moral parameters. In a world where the moral is the social.very strange. which is to say survive in the best possible way within the narrower society one lives in. Maybe the world we live in is amoral where people may or may not be still be following the Darwinian principles natural selection and struggle for existence. At best. The sense of right and a sense of wrong may just be very . These principles may have nothing to do with what is called a moral sense. Darwin’s concept of Morality is to conduct according to legal rules. At best his moral theory is explanatory in character which fails to explain the extremes. which occasionally presents it self. The explanation lies in doing what ought to be done in order to maintain peace. and what we call social. that is one of altruism. There are no moral parameters one can break in Darwin’s conception of Morality besides maybe not following ‘the law of the land’. Considering the failure of the ‘method’ of implementation. This is to say: 3. There is a good possibility of there being no moral sense. Darwin’s answer to the third moral inquiry (Is there a point to try to institute moral reforms in the light of past performances?) is in the affirmative and his method of appropriating moral education is not different from ‘no education’ as it is based on inheritance. In Darwin’s case what ‘fits in’ are just pseudo moral or legal parameters at best). where some crimes may break be considered to break all moral parameters. The world in which we live is not moral(as there are counter cases in the form of empirical cases of criminal records. Darwin’s answer to the third moral query is in the negative or at best uncertain due to an element of unexplained characteristics of human beings . as there is no method of appropriating moral education at all. which may vary from land to land. This is to say that this world is composed of humans ranging between the egoistic type and the altruistic types despite there being societies with the so called moral reforms and moral theories. Darwin calls the social.

the premise that man is rational is just borrowed by Darwin. There may be no genetic or biological or social explanation for it.individualistic. . NEED A LINK HERE WITH DARWIN. Darwin did not even dig in deeper before conforming the belief that man as opposed to animal can be ascribed to be moral. there is a dualism between reason and instinct despite the preached superiority of reason over instinct. it hasn’t been found yet. Interestingly both these features are now considered opposing to each other. Some people may just be very different from the crowd. some do not. This would make morality a meta level discourse. unless one is habitual to do only that what is rational. This topic is not dealt with in Darwin’s chapters on morality even though he has made use of both habit and reason. may not be always based on reason. as seen in the extreme types of egoistic and altruistic behaviour. This is because reason is involved which means a constant reflection would be in order while making choices and conducting oneself according to those choices. ANALYSIS HAS TO BE CONTINUED…. The former is guided by self preservation and the latter not. As I mentioned in the previous section. And if there is. or the triggering cause of this replication are still to be found. where it is ambiguous about the first order and the second order level in so far as habit and reason are concerned. This may be expressed in what presents themselves as counter examples of the normal humans in society. Such a case would throw habit outside the window of ethical conduct. That is to say whether habit is at the first order level and reason at the second order level or reason is at the first order level and habit is at the second order level. Some cause active tumours. that of habit or adaptation of behaviour to an environment and that of inheritance of genetic features if one involves reason in this genetic transfer. At best. At best such behaviour is analogous to cancer cells which regenerate themselves and the carcinogens. In his system at least then there should be no reason to distinguish a dog and a man in so long both can be subjected as experiments of a Pavlov hypothesis where a false sound meaning correlation is made which leads a dog to salivate at just the sound of a bell because previously the sound was always accompanied by food.

Arthor N Prior takes this to conclude that what GE Moore means by ‘naturalness’ and what Butler means by ‘indifferent’ is more than non identity with goodness or badness. Darwin can be seen as one such naturalist. Accordingly some people who hold the view that there is nothing out of the ordinary about what words such as good or bad or right or wrong refer to. or both. As against them. Their view can be interpreted as. anti naturalists are people who hold that ethical predicates represent qualities which are sui generic. These terms are not fortunately chosen since it was held both by GE Moore and Butler that to say something is our duty or possess value. It is next contended that no matter how we describe these two realms. albeit of a peculiar kind. Arthor N Prior compares GE Moore’s statement with that made by Butler ‘Everything is what it is. this quality or combination of qualities is identical with goodness. Such people are called naturalists. While the naturalistic fallacy point to a kind of truism (What is good is good) which GE Moore is against.Arthur N Prior makes a distinction between naturalists and anti naturalists. It is hard to delineate his conception of the natural though. in a category of their own. or is invariably or necessarily accompanied by it. is to state a fact. and then they become intuitively evident. such as their conduciveness or otherwise biological survival. It is more than a mere truism. A distinction can be drawn now between realm of value and the realm of facts in order to prevent the truism in the definitional attribute of goodness and badness with other qualities.all qualities other than goodness or badness have something positive which is so near to universal that we do not notice it until we compare them with goodness and badness. and not another thing’ where the endevour was to show that virtue and disinterestedness were not the same thing and that goodness and badness cannot be identified with any ‘indifferent’ epithets. their existence and distinctness is what seems to be refered . The naturalistic fallacy posited by GE Moore is the assumption that because some quality or a combination of qualities invariably and necessarily accompanies the quality of good nes. They believe that they either merely express the feelings of the person using them or refer to some natural characteristic of the object to which they are applied. In order to understand this. Naturalists try to combine their naturalism with use of moral terms which only the opposite positions can incidentally justify. different from all natural qualities.

In Darwin’s case we see an attempt though by placing him in the paradox survival introduced him to initially.’ since this principle would apply within a single ‘natural’ realm even if there were no other. then the fact that…… only what promotes survival is good. ‘ …the people who begin by laying it down as a truth of primary importance.’12 What such inconsistent naturalists would want to hold is that goodness is both identical with survival and not identical with it. This criticism is applicable to Darwin’s concept of morality where the sole purpose was to establish biological survival as an ethical principle in so long as a good man would 12 Arthor N Prior. since the statement which the definition makes trivial is always precisely the one which is put forth to prove.that nothing is good but what promotes biological survival. is hardly worth shouting from the house tops.To such people it is certainly legitimate and necessary to reply…that if promotion of survival is what goodness means.. perhaps even as something revolutionary. since it is not truism to say that pleasure is conducive to survival. The point which is key to note here against ethical naturalism based on the preceding thoughts is that.. . Chapter ‘The Naturalistic Fallacy: The Logic of its refutation’ from Logic and the Basis of Ethics. namely inheritance as morality.. The use of GE Moore’s naturalistic fallacy then lies to show the inconsistency in a ethical naturalist who implicitly deny a logical truism and one needs to remind one of their inconsistency.. However it may be argued that if we use ‘good’ as ‘conducive to biological survival’. and who. The following point is applicable to Darwin. when asked why they are so certain of this. reply ‘that is the very meaning of the word’ (Darwin too held that the conception of morality as inheritance)_. But in so far as GE Moore’s argument is taken as a criticism of the attempt to deduce significant assumptions from definitions. since no body in his senses ever denied that……… what promotes survival and only what promotes survival is what promotes survival. The only solution he could come up with was a non viable one. it is not truism to say that pleasure is..to in Moore’s distinction between ethical predicates and all natural ones. then while this may be considered synonymous and a truism of that sort.an intuitive difference between moral qualities and all others goes far beyond anything that can be proved from the principle that ‘Everything is what it is and not another thing. and of course it cannot be done. 1949. . this answer is irrelevant. Clarendon Press. pg 7.

as Arthor N Prior suggests.give up his life and still survive biologically through his progeny. by admitting that he is infact propagating a kind of truism. the inconsistent ethical naturalist. as it liberates us from a transcendental notion which has haunted us for too long. Darwin in our case has two options. He after all considered his argument a refutation to naturalism. then the statement that ‘what is conducive to biological survival is good’ is not an ethical statement but what goes by the name of ethics. but that in his belief there is no such quality. and that this is worth shouting from the housetops. . Arthor N Prior further goes on to say that: ‘He might add at the same time that he is not only not going to discuss goodness as a ‘non natural’ quality. Giving up naturalism is what the inconsistent ethical naturalist would do according to GE Moore. He can either give up his naturalism or the ethical aspect of ‘ethical naturalism’. In this case he would also have to agree that if ethics is an attempt to determine what in fact is good. But a naturalist can preserve his naturalism if he wants to. Confronted with GE Moore’s naturalism. Darwin who then upheld that it is an ethical principle that only that which conduces to survival is good would not be too happy to see that it is the ‘only’ principle which the definition renders as insignificant.

in so long as it is a behaviour is guided by norms and is undoubtedly concerned with what ought to be done. And this is precisely because there is a distinction between what ought to be done and what is done. But as SS Barlingay and many others contend that Ethics. How do we distinguish between the moral and the social? 2. We look at three questions: 1. 13 . Or does the moral behaviour exactly overlap the social behaviour? The attempt to answer the first question will lead one to demarcate a ‘moral sense’ in an attempt of definition. Is there any behaviour which is moral but not social or social but not moral? 3. For if the latter distinction ceases to exist then there will be no change or transformation to enforce a behaviour and the ‘agency to conduct’ will be removed from man. An affirmative answer to the third question will result in the end of Ethics as a normative science. One of ‘the difficulties in building a moral theory’ is (as given in a chapter which is so entitled by SS Barlingay13) is the distinction of the moral with the social. Moral imagination or moral ideals will result if any conduct is moral but not social.MORAL THEORY. Incidentally a social but not moral act will result in what is known as an Anti social act or immoral act or an amoral act.

However the moral order. which is to say. no ethical disasters.A counter example could be presented by the claim that a moral sense is intuitive. it is intended that it should not be arbitrary but necessary. But then one can always object that if this was the case then there would be no mistakes. So while moral is synthetic in nature theoretically. So the first step parameter of morality. it is the synthetic in character and not a priori. perhaps because it has to be sustained in the pre existing apriroi social order. no matter how much that is desired. The legal order is merely to preserve a minimum order. I think at this point it would be enough to consent with Barlingay on the point that the legal order may be arbitrary. but at present the aim is to establish or understand the relation between the social in the broader sense of the term and the moral. This is the second parameter. The legal is a subset of the social. right from the wrong. and prevent the society from destabilizing or collapsing. i Here of course I will refrain from entangling in the question of legal norms and if they are different from moral norms. clashes and coherence of some interests as opposed to some others. based on value additions which takes into account variations of interests. which can be framed again before one can even begin to define a moral sense that morality has to be a necessary condition in the changing social dynamics. This is the case when morality is taken as distinct from society theoretically in so long as there is not a complete overlap. even though it is anthropocentric. It is only that in the case of the moral action the attempt may be to maintain the social structure. we inherently have the ability to distinguish good from the bad. the social playground of moral conduct would make morality . or apriori. even before we define a moral sense is that it demands action. This is a mere theoretical distinction which is not viable in practice as any action done by a being happens in time in the already pre existing society. This point I think takes care of SS Barlingay’s worry that it is difficult to distinguish the social end from the moral end. an extention of the first parameter. and in so long as it does. Society then in some sense is apriori and it is the synthetic end of morality that prevents from anarchism.

as we shall try to enumerate. and immortality is not yet attained. of imperatives. maybe for morality there has to be a conduct and rational correlation. These criteria may vary from one moral theory to another. and contends without any evidence why morality cannot be ascribed to other social animals that might have done empirically the same moral acts as some humans. and not solely conduct.synthetic aprioi. The ambiguity of his conception of moral theory makes one wonder whether the rationality principle was not sufficient to even frame the conception of a moral theory let alone understand it or base our conduct on those rational principles. (of utility. It is here that I find no coherence with Origin of Species and Descent of Man where Darwin left a chief demarcating criterion of morality uninvestigated. a sound meaning correlation is the key. but there has to be a criterion which includes them in their varieties as subsets. nor solely rationality. This is why I thought that Darwin’s conception of Morality would be interesting to investigate into to see if how he makes the connection of the rational and the moral and to understand the demarcating marker of morality being an attribute of humans alone. there is a need that there be moral agents as also a linear progression of these moral agents. Without solving the problem of moral acquisition as to how that comes about. one cannot fail to notice that what need to be acquired are moral characteristics or pre-requisites of a moral theory. Now so long as there is action and change and momentariness. and not sound alone. But is there a way to confirm the method of this ‘passing on’ or what may be called ‘moral acquisition’(if I may use that term)? It is this feature which is as ambiguous as the problem of language acquisition. How is it that there are so many languages and yet a child becomes a proficient language learner at a young age? How is it that despite n number of moral criterions. whatever they might be. I would like to call this a similarity marker of moral criterions which helps in the identification of a moral criterion . of virtues for instance) man is not completely alien to concept of moral sense and is a moral agent? Just as many linguistics consider that for language speaking. The moral characteristics and principles. Passing on the moral sense could be done via inheritance or habit or social conditioning or a Karma theory. are to be inculcated in individuals of the present as well as the future. However my research shows that Darwin just borrows rationality as a principle of morality from predecessors of moral philosophy.

In terms of our moral thoughts. in the case of Ethics. and not necessarily in effect. Descriptive Metaphysics is the content to describe the actual structure of our thoughts about the world. In terms of ethics. this transition is important. Revisionary Metaphysics is concerned to produce a better structure. There are some philosophers who try to understand Ethics in terms of Human nature and some who understand Human nature in terms of Ethics and so in the field of ethics too one may assign a philosopher or a student of philosophy as a descriptivist and as a revisionist. It is just that the point of view differs. It is important that this distinction is to be understood if Morality is attempted to be understood in terms of human nature. Before understanding Motherstill’s procedure it seems important that one talks about the Metaphysics of Ethics. slightly literally job of inventing a new conceptual scheme. trace the abstract conceptual apparatus of ethics. One can call a philosopher a revisionist only at a starting point of their investigation.as being a moral criterion. Strawson in his book Individual-An Essay in Descriptive Metaphysics presented a distinction between Descriptive Metaphysics and Revisionary Metaphysics. By following the pattern she set. In this process I am going to follow Mary Motherstill who in the introduction of her book Ethics systematically delineated how the construction of a moral theory should progress in the broad sense of the term and be subjected to a philosophical critic if not holding on to a philosophical position. one could say that the descripivist or in this case the sociologist has a sober scientific task of elucidating our exact conceptual scheme while the revisionist or mostly moral philosopher has the speculative. If R L Phillip’s interpretation of Strawson’s thought where he proclaimed that a revisionist is at best of service to the descriptivist is to be understood in the conception of ethics. This will hopefully become clear after introducing the structure of the moral theory I intend to create in this section. Motherstill says that morality if understood to . it can be understood to be what ought to be the case. The distinction is not lucid since there a transition is seen between one and the other. one can consider it what happens to be the case in this world. I would want to see if the Indian Moral conception of Dharma can fit in this frame work as established by SS Barlingay.

A provisional list may include injections such as: One should respect other people and treat them fairly. ‘The way people ought to behave’ ought to be understood as a set of elementary rules of right conduct. anyone who actively pursues these goals will observe the rules of right conduct. To do so would be to assert that some or all of the rules of right conduct that they might reasonably be ignored. Sevaral philosophical position result in divergent world views due to the different relation with the relation of the broad definition of morality we outlines. one should contribute in appropriate ways to the welfare of the community. ‘Haven’t we. For Plato. but a theory of human nature is a part of science and belongs to the ‘realm of facts’. Both Plato and Kant for instance will not disagree with the broad definition of morality. what would be considered revisionary by us. 1965. in specifying “the way people ought to behave” taken a stand and so acquired a bias?’ 14 But Motherstill answers that we have taken a stand. one should help them whenever possible. The MacMillan Company Collier MacMillan Limited. ‘What is the nature of Morality?’ Motherstill distinguishes the narrower conception of morality with a capital M to distinguish it from the broad usage and bases the philosophical differences based on the relation between the two(Morality and morality). page 5. 14 Mary Motherstill.be ‘the way people ought to behave’ belongs to the ‘the realm of values’.’ Motherstill does raise the circularity with this model. one should keep one’s promises and tell the truth. Ethics. Given these rules. and the narrow definition in their particular framework where these injections take shape in different conceptual settings. we can ask the question. For Kant Morality is respect for the moral law as formulated by the categorical Imperative. ‘What ought a person do(in general)?’ or ‘What is the nature of morally right conduct?’ and the answer lies in the injections briefed earlier ‘Conduct your life in accordance with these rules. She takes the example of Plato and Kant and their conception of Morality to cite one such difference. Morality is essentially striving for enlightenment and happiness. London. or acknowledged a commitment at best and not adopted a philosophical position yet. . And the attempt in any moral theory is to bring the two together. They would not however assent to these rules as providing the illuminating answer to the philosophical question.

CONCLUSION In order to investigate the relationship between the moral and the social it is important to base the explanation of empirical evidence of there being the two extremes besides the in betweens of egoistic and altruistic behaviours. Attempts to explain this behaviour in an attempt to endorse some form of self preservation in the process. even a stranger. in the biological as well as moral sense. An altruistic person on the other extreme. Darwin’s social biology which he endorses with Morality is one attempt to find an explanation. He agrees that we are dependent on other members of the same as well as different species for our survival as a species. would not subscribe to the principles of self preservation at all. . the is and the ought. When asks what makes us moral he answers: A combination of intellectual abilities and social instincts which lead to emotions towards the members of the society. like survival of the progeny or praise seem dubious. We have seen conclusively how he has failed in so long as he subscribes to principles of natural selection or (sexual selection) more specifically in order to explain the belief in ‘morality as inheritance’. what can be said about the way people actually behave? This question lead to the problems of moral acquisitions and moral theory construction as a discrepancy is seen between actual human conduct and that is morally right. his protection and his advantage to live a life of betterment. What is interesting is that altruistic behaviour is harder to explain than egoistic behaviour even though a degree of isolation is associated with both the behaviours. Egoistic behaviour and altruism both seem to remain as anti-social elements in so long as there is a divergence from the social norms of dependency in which we live in. An egotist who completely subscribe to the principles of Darwinian Self Preservation would do everything in his capacity to mold the environment around him to his favour. and would not hesitate for a moment to sacrifice his or her life for the betterment of others.Given the rules of right conduct.

These social norms are not necessarily moral norms. universalisation of conduct would at best undermine and curb the rational as well as instinctual capacities of the beings who are meant to act according to these precepts. Should we live in a moral society if the society in which we live in not moral? To desire a moral society with the prevalence of anti social elements is to ascribe a moral code which might be assented to all the elements. which is of moral significance. and reason being a prerequisite of morality as many besides Darwin hold to be the case. There being an inconsistency. the social and the antisocial alike. the society in which we live in is not moral. if they fail to explain the exclusion of altruism. due to human beings. if altruism is itself placed as an anti social behaviour. then one anti social element is considered immoral and the other anti social element is considered moral of par excellence.If the society in which we live in is moral. . To give up reason from morality is to say that morality is not specie specific.

‘What makes us moral?’. I pointed out to her that the fact that she answered the second question at all indicates that her answer to the first question is incorrect or at best inconsistent since to admit that society makes us moral is to imply that we are moral beings. And here I ponder upon another question: Does Good have the same sense as God? In case it does. morality as well might be a social construct or a fabrication or imaginative category used to explain the mystery of the world just like God maybe. And society may be the reason for this illusion we call morality. since the question of morality is prevalent in the society for me to even raise that question. She objected that one can understand the second question even in the light of the first answer as ‘No’. So when one asks. And that might just might be the case. is it ever possible to .I asked this question to a friend and she replied very intuitively ‘No’ to the first question and ‘Society’ to the second.

define Good or prove its existence or is Goodness something we believe in like a theist without questioning its origins? Darwin answered the second questions similarly too and based that society instincts makes us moral. we are moral beings where we refers to human beings as opposed to other animals because of our intellectual capacities. As to the first question he answered in affirmation: Yes. .

i ’ SS Barlingay. (1998: 118) . ‘The difficulties in Building a Moral Theory’ .

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