Morality’s Foundations: Nurture or Nature?
The foundations of human morality have often been a point of contention in the scientific and psychological communities, with researchers frequently debating if human morals are innate sensations that are hardwired into one’s genetic makeup or that morals start out as a blank slate that are simply molded by the environment in which an individual was brought up. In recent times, we have seen a vast amount of scientific publications favoring both sides of this argument, but most publications have failed to make one key connection. Typically, recent literature has failed to bridge the gap between humans and the rest of the Animalia kingdom, as many animals, especially the members of the Aves and…show more content… The term seemingly is used with altruistic because it has been noted that these behaviors in the evolutionary sense are not true instances of altruism as the animal does gain inclusive fitness through means such as kin selection, reciprocal altruism, and cooperation – thus indicating these behaviors are actually selfish in nature (Waal, 2008). Inclusive fitness is a biological theory established by a mathematical model created by W.D. Hamilton in 1964 that illustrates how an animal will gain genetic success and increased evolutionary fitness through cooperative and altruistic behaviors. An animal can gain inclusive fitness by two means, directly through mechanisms such as reciprocal altruism/ mutualism or indirectly through other means like kin selection. For example, in kin selection an altruistic helper will have their genes indirectly passed on through their kin, as their altruistic behaviors have directly increased the kin’s evolutionary fitness and reproductive success (Hamilton, 1964). For instance, this phenomenon is directly portrayed in the self-sacrificing emission of an alarm call by a common ground squirrel female when in the presence of a predator. Through various observations, researchers have found that these female squirrels will typically only emit an alarm call when surrounded by their kin. On the other hand, however, these