IHPST Colloquium-Winter 2024- Third talk

When and Where

Wednesday, March 20, 2024 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm
CSC216 Copper Room
Goldring Centre
150 Charles St W, Toronto, ON M5S 1K9


Paul Thompson


                                                                                Hybrid event

You are cordially invited to attend the Winter 2024 Colloquium series of the Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science and Technology, organized by Professor Chen-Pang Yeang. The IHPST Colloquium Series comprises a set of talks given by researchers on their recent or cumulative work related to the history and philosophy of science. It is one of the IHPST's major scholarly activities.

The second talk of this semester will take place on March 20, from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. in CSC216 Copper Room- Goldring Centre 150 Charles St W. Professor Paul Thompson (IHPST-University of Toronto) will present Evolution of the Moral Contract”  


In this talk, I develop an evolutionary justification for morality by providing a thoroughly naturalistic, evolutionary account of the biological underpinnings of a social contract theory of morality. This social contract theory of morality (contractevolism) provides an evolutionary justification of the primacy of a moral principle of maximisation of the opportunities for evolutionary reproductive success (ERS), where maximising opportunities does not entail an obligation on individuals to choose to maximise their ERS. Using that primary principle, the moral principles of inclusion, individual sovereignty (liberty) and equality can be justified. The implications of these principles, within contractevolism, are explored through an examination of patriarchy. If time permits, I will examine the implications for one of the following: individual sovereignty, copulatory choices, or overpopulation and extinction. Contractevolism is grounded in evolutionary dynamics that resulted in humans and human societies. The most important behavioural consequences of evolution to contractevolism are reciprocity, cooperation and empathy, and the most important cognitive consequences are reason and behavioural modification.

Paul Thompson has an international reputation in philosophy of biology, especially the mathematical/logical structure of biological theories, explanation and experimental design. He had made seminal contributions to understanding an evolutionary-based social contract account of morality, and has made internationally influential contributions to evolutionary theory, philosophy of medicine, and the benefits of genetic modification of organisms in medicine and agriculture. He has served extensively on committees advising governments and industry. He holds graduate appointments in the Institute for History and Philosophy of Science and Technology and the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology.

Please note that this is a hybrid event. You are welcome to attend in person or join via Zoom. To get the link please e-mail IHPST.info@utoronto.ca

Wednesday, March 20, 2024, 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm - Goldring Centre (150 Charles St W, Toronto, ON M5S 1K9)- CSC216 Copper Room

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