Midgley quotes Darwin: 'the moral sense is fundamentally identical with the social instincts
As Charles Darwin himself wrote in The Descent of Man (1871), "Social instincts
, which no doubt were acquired by man, as by the lower animals...
The following proposition seems to me in a high degree probable--namely, that any animal whatever, endowed with well-marked social instincts
, the parental and filial affections being here included, would inevitably acquire a moral sense or conscience, as soon as its intellectual powers had become as well, or nearly as well developed, as in man.
In the course of applying this principle to the human species Darwin referred to a "moral sense or conscience" that he conjectured had evolved in early humanity and that he envisaged as originating in the common "social instincts
" or feelings that "lead an animal to take pleasure in the society of its fellows, to feel a certain amount of sympathy with them, and to perform various services for them." (18) Central to this sociality, Darwin felt, would be the growing awareness of being a member of a community and of being influenced in one's actions by the community's wishes and its approval or disapproval of one's individual behavior.
In particular, "the social instincts
we inherit from our tribal past were shaped by gene-culture coevolution in which group selection on cultural variation played the leading role" (p.
"The aid which we feel impelled to give to the helpless is mainly an incidental result of the instinct of sympathy, which was originally acquired as part of the social instincts
, but widely diffused.
The double-edged nature of social instincts
means that collaboration requires much more than just pairing up two people and pointing them up the mountain.
Later on your social instincts
can be stoked up or others can be keen to draw you out into the social milieu.
First, social animals exhibit social instincts
of mutual benefit.
In contrast, the next generation of social commentators assured urban female consumers that "dressing up" was a perfectly legitimate expression of women's "positive social instincts
In technical terms, our social instincts
continued for the most part to co-evolve with our physical evolution.
The most widely accepted belief: "Humans have built-in social instincts
to do things as a group," says Robert Provine, a psychologist at the University of Maryland.