Moral Tribes | Science News

ADVERTISEMENT

MISSION CRITICAL

Support credible science journalism.

Subscribe to Science News today.


Reviews & Previews

Moral Tribes

Emotion, Reason and the Gap Between Us and Them by Joshua Greene

By
9:24am, December 20, 2013

Monks, mobsters and everyone else heed moral codes, even if these codes seem incomprehensible or repellent to outsiders. All moral thinking boils down to two basic conflicts, writes philosopher and neuroscientist Greene: “me versus us” and “us versus them.”

His argument goes like this: In the small tribes that dominated human evolution, moral rules emerged as a way to encourage individuals to put the best interests of a home group — “us” — ahead of “me.” Moral systems also prompted tribal people to value “us” over competing groups, or “them.”

This article is available only to subscribing members. Join the Society today or Log in.

Get Science News headlines by e-mail.

More Humans & Society articles

From the Nature Index Paid Content