Lecture: Herb Gintis, Phi Beta Kappa Scholar



In the classical liberal tradition of Thomas Hobbes and John Locke, morality is the product of modern civil society. In fact, Human morality is the product of an evolutionary dynamic involving the interaction of genes and culture. In this dynamic, humans transform culture, and the new culture makes new behaviors fitness-enhancing. Thus, genes are the product of culture just as much as culture is the product of genes. In this view, morality is predicated upon a set of evolved human predispositions. Among these predispositions are altruistic cooperation and punishment, the value of character virtues (including honesty, loyalty, considerateness, cleanliness and courage), sensitivity to the judgment of others, and empathy.