The UCI Interdisciplinary Center for the Scientific Study of Ethics and Morality presents

"The Difference Between Ice Cream and Nazis: Evolution and the Emergence of Moral Objectivity"
with P. Kyle Stanford, Professor, Department of Logic and Philosophy of Science, UCI

Friday, April 29, 2011
12:30-2:00 p.m.
Social Science Plaza B, Room 5250

Stanford’s research suggests that many philosophers are right to be profoundly unsatisfied by existing efforts to explain human moral psychology in evolutionary terms, for these efforts either ignore or fail to successfully account for the most distinctive and puzzling feature of that psychology:  our robust and recalcitrant experience of moral demands as something over and above mere subjective preferences about our own and others’ behavior. His talk will offer a novel evolutionary explanation for this aspect of our moral phenomenology, rooted in features of our cooperative behavior that are distinctive (and perhaps unique) to human beings.  He will argue that this account helps to explain why moral demands as we experience and cognize them exhibit both some characteristics we associate with our representations of ‘objective’, external, mind-independent states of affairs and others we associate instead with mere ‘subjective’ reactions or attitudes towards those states of affairs.  He will conclude by suggesting how this invites a novel conception of what objectivity genuinely is (and always was) in the moral domain. 

A light lunch will be provided; RSVPs are requested. For more information or to RSVP, please contact Sandy Cushman, more information, please contact Sandy Cushman,

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