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date: 23 January 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Evolutionary theory offers an explanation for the emergence of, and variations in, sociality, helping behavior, and morality in both animals and humans. These traits evolved in some species to help them adapt to their environments. Humans possess them in abundance not because God created humans in his own image but rather because these traits were especially beneficial to early humans. To flesh out this general explanation, this chapter considers the ways in which social and moral adaptations helped humans and members of other social species (but not members of nonsocial species) propagate their genes. Humans are among the most social of all animals, and the structure of human groups has undergone several significant changes over time, adding stresses on moral motives. People can make impartial moral judgments, even when they do not foster personal interests, thanks to evolved processes enhancing motivations to make fair moral judgments.

Keywords: sociality, cooperation, bonding, morality, evolution, reciprocity, intelligence

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