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Meat made us moral: a hypothesis on the nature and evolution of moral judgment

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)903-931
Number of pages29
Issue number6
PublishedNov 2013

King's Authors


In the first part of the article, an account of moral judgment in terms of emotional dispositions is given. This account provides an expressivist explanation of three important features of moral demands: inescapability, authority independence and meriting. In the second part of the article, some ideas initially put forward by Christopher Boehm are developed and modified in order to provide a hypothesis about the evolution of the ability to token moral judgments. This hypothesis makes evolutionary sense of inescapability, authority independence and meriting. It does so by referring to the selection pressures generated in the Late Pleistocene by large-game hunting. If the hypothesis is correct, we can say that, in a sense, meat made us moral.

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