Grigory A. Chasovskikh

Pirogov Russian National Research Medical University, Moscow, Russia


This article discusses the evolutionary prerequisites for the formation of the concept of justice, as well as some of its attributive characteristics found in animals. Evolutionary ethics managed to rapidly establish itself as a branch of evolutionary theory. Charles Darwin already believed that our moral behavior was at least partially of a pre-rational nature. By the second half of the 20th century, a demand for the justification of prosocial behavior in terms of evolutionary benefits had finally emerged. Hypothetical constructions, such as mutual altruism and moralistic aggression, have found empirical evidence in the works of S. Brosnan and F. de Waal and raised the question of their possible definition as a prototype of our ideas about justice and fairness. A number of observations and experiments with non-human primates subsequently confirmed that the concepts of reciprocal altruism and moralistic aggression may be applicable to them. This in turn raised the question of whether we can say that the notions of justice in humans and non-human primates are homologous. In the case of at least a partially positive answer, this raises the question of how our moral contracts can be modernized according to this knowledge. This paper provides a critical analysis of moral realism on naturalistic grounds in the works of S. Harris and R. Boyd and discusses possible alternatives to it. Societies are heterogeneous in their perceptions of justice, and culture has a strong organizing influence on moral perceptions, but this does not make evolutionary ethics worthless. Ken Binmore's evolutionary game theory is proposed as a means of resolving moral realist contradictions found in evolutionary ethics. Based on this framework, Binmore offers a way to modernize our moral contracts.        

Keywords: evolutionary ethics, moralistic aggression, justice, moral realism, skepticism, moral contract, evolutionary game theory, Binmore, de Waal.