HFIK03732U  FILO, Module 4: Contemporary Philosophical Discussion: Values and Evolution

Volume 2015/2016

Master in Philosophy


If evolutionary theory is true, then humans belong to a species that evolved, like others, through natural selection. The course pursues the following question: Does our evolutionary background provide insight specifically into the status of ethics? The course will provide an advanced introduction to contemporary topics in metaethics in light of evolutionary biology. The course will address a range of questions including: How should we understand the role of biological and cultural evolution in relation to our capacities for moral judgment and moral motivation? Is our moral sense an evolutionary adaptation? What implications, if any, might evolutionary explanations have for moral realism, the claim that there are moral facts, and our ability to know them? How should we understand normative truths in the context of evolution? The course will introduce the relevant evolutionary biology and discuss work by authors such as Philip Kitcher (The Ethical Project), Allan Gibbard (Wise Choices, Apt Feelings), Richard Joyce (The Evolution of Morality), and Sober & Wilson (Unto Others: The Evolution and Psychology of Unselfish Behaviour).

Learning Outcome

The Master’s Programme in Philosophy 2014:
Module 4, Contemporary Philosophical Discussion: HFIK03731E
Module 5, Freely chosen topic 1: HFIK03741E
Module 5, Freely chosen topic 2: HFIK03751E

The Master’s Programme in Philosophy 2008:
Module 2, Freely chosen topic A: HFIK03521E
Module 4, Freely chosen topic B: HFIK03541E
Module 5, Freely chosen topic C: HFIK03551E
Module 6, Freely chosen topic D: HFIK03561E
Module 7, Freely chosen topic E: HFIK03571E

Type of assessment
The exam will be conducted in english
Criteria for exam assesment
  • Category
  • Hours
  • Class Instruction
  • 42
  • Course Preparation
  • 367,5
  • Total
  • 409,5