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Overriding the Natural Ought

Philip R. Sullivan and Phillip R. Sullivan
Behavior and Philosophy
Vol. 24, No. 2 (Fall, 1996), pp. 129-136
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/27759349
Page Count: 8
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Overriding the Natural Ought
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Abstract

Natural selection favors not only more adaptive structural features but also more effective behavioral programs. Crucial for the prospering and very survival of an extremely sophisticated social species like homo sapiens is the biological/psychological program that might be conveniently labeled the human sense of fairness: a feeling often referred to in societies featuring supernaturalized explanations as one's "God given conscience." The sense of fairness and related programs derive a measure of their effectiveness from the fact that, in addition to the pleasure/pain mechanisms reinforcing their implementation, we are programmed to want to want the goals they introduce and to experience repugnance in the face of goals that strongly conflict.

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