Fourth year LPS student Justin Bruner gave a paper this summer at the biennial meeting of the International Society for the History, Philosophy, and Social Studies of Biology, held in Montpellier, France. His talk, entitled "Evolution and the Diversity of Moral Norms," used methods from evolutionary game theory to explore how our beliefs about morality arise. While most work on the evolution of morality has focused on the evolution of altruism and cooperation, Bruner addressed a broader question concerning how codes of conduct in general evolve. His model helps explain both how moral codes that appear to be detrimental can be evolutionarily stable, and also why beliefs about what is moral can vary widely from society to society. The conference was held from July 7th to July 12.


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