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Analyse & Kritik

Journal of Philosophy and Social Theory

Ed. by Baurmann, Michael / Leist, Anton / Tranow, Ulf

2 Issues per year

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Volume 34, Issue 1


The Golden Age of the Campfire: Should We Take Our Ancestors Seriously?

Michael Baurmann
Published Online: 2016-02-11 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/auk-2012-0103


In his book The Ethical Project Philip Kitcher presents an ‘analytical history’ of the development of human ethical practice. According to this history the first ethical norms were launched in the ancient world of the hunters and gatherers and their initial function was to remedy altruism failures. Kitcher wants to show that the emergence of ethical norms can in this case and in general be explained without referring to supernatural causes or philosophical revelation. Furthermore, he claims that the first manifestation of the ethical project still serves as an ideal. In my comment I will contest the plausibility of Kitcher’s analytical history and question whether the presumed characteristics of ethics in prehistoric times could still be binding for us today.

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Published Online: 2016-02-11

Published in Print: 2012-05-01

Citation Information: Analyse & Kritik, Volume 34, Issue 1, Pages 39–50, ISSN (Online) 2365-9858, ISSN (Print) 0171-5860, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/auk-2012-0103.

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© 2012 by Lucius & Lucius, Stuttgart.

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