Evolution and the seven deadly sins
The seven deadly sins are a popular theme, but they are often brushed off as antiquated, the product of stringent moral rules, or just arbitrary. In this thesis, I explain morality from a different perspective: evolutionary psychology. Using the Seven Deadly Sins as an example, I provide a user-friendly understanding of why we have the moral rules that we have. Boyd and Richerson (1992) demonstrated that, through the use of punishment, any rule---no matter how capricious---can be upheld. What I seek to explain is that moral rules, in this case the Seven Sins, are not arbitrary---or, at least, they were not arbitrary in the environment in which our innate moral faculties developed, though these rules may seem ascetic today. I suggest that much of what falls under the conceptual umbrella of morality can be better understood when framed as problems of cooperation. The Seven Sins are a useful example of the usefulness of moral rules, and psychopathy provides a comparison for understanding the importance of conscience.
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Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)
Office of Undergraduate Studies
Dissertations, Academic -- Undergraduate Studies;Undergraduate Studies -- Dissertations, Academic
Length of Campus-only Access
Honors in the Major Thesis
Dukes, Amber Lee, "Evolution and the seven deadly sins" (2010). HIM 1990-2015. 993.