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A more complete understanding of the biocultural evolutionary origins of the concept of ought as developed by David Hume and G. E. Moore may lower the philosophical barrier between is and ought and provide new insights about the separations between the domains of religion and science. If this conjecture is correct, the resulting wisdom will help transcend a major source of irony that Philip Hefner has so aptly identified in his essay.

Keywords: biocultural evolution; ethics; is; naturalistic fallacy; ought

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Professor of Anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania and director of the Krogman Growth Center. His mailing address is 762 E. Passyunk Ave., Philadelphia, PA 19147;, Email:

Publication date: June 1, 2010

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