Tom Oord Wonders …

Did animal morality emerge in the evolutionary process simultaneous with the emergence of free will?

Tell us what you think.

Category: Conversation Starter


2 Responses

  1. How is animal morality defined? Chimpanzees have been known to engage in unprovoked lethal attacks on their neighbors that appears to be organized, collaborative killing.

    In another case two female chimpanzees were observed (on more than one occasion) attacking a lower rank new mother chimpanzee and killing and eating her infant; a behavior that appeared to be a choice as other female chimps have never been observed doing that as far as I know.

    Is that an example of free will and is it immoral when done by an animal such as a chimpanzee?

    It seems to me that the emergence of free will, the emergence of the creative mind and the emergence of morality are all related and are products of evolution

    Barry Vennard

  2. Michael Sizer says:

    It would seem unlikely that morality and free will evolved simultaneously, since morality requires executive brain functions, known to come from the pre-frontal cortex, while free will I would expect could be attributed to non-social but conscious animals, such as insects (which have some of the brain functions we have, but not all of them of course). Therefore, it would seem to me that free will would have to had evolved first, and then the capacity for empathy and compassion, along with social constructs of proper behavior would follow afterward in some species.

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