Analyse & Kritik
Journal of Philosophy and Social Theory
Ed. by Baurmann, Michael / Leist, Anton / Tranow, Ulf
2 Issues per year
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.