A Philosophical and Evolutionary Investigation on the Origin of Morality: The Contractarian Analysis and Formulation

  • Chun Yin KONG (Speaker)

Activity: Talks or PresentationsOther Invited Talks or Presentations


Explaining human moral phenomena from the perspective of evolution leads to different understandings of human nature and the meaning of morality. According to Brian Skyrms, social contract theory can be sharpened and be more complete by integrating insights from evolutionary theory, game theory, etc. Contractarianism is a contemporary version of social contract theory that applies contributions from the above-mentioned disciplines to justify its ethical stance. For instance, Contractarianism assumes that morality arises from the cooperation among agents, which fits some anthropologists such as Christopher Boehm's hypothesis and analysis about the origin of morality. Thus, in my research, I launch a systematic review toward the theoretic fundamentals of Contractarianism from the philosophical and evolutionary perspectives, which includes the historical development, general form of contract theory, its meta-ethical stance and its modern interdisciplinary application e.g., Prisoners' Dilemma, cardinal utility (quantitative analysis), ordinal utility and Shapley value, etc. I attempt to draw a relatively concrete conclusion about the boundaries of right and wrong in ethics and address the judgment problem of moral responsibility from a Contractarian standpoint.
Period14 Apr 2023
Held atDepartment of Philosophy