Evolution-Based Ethical Challenges Related to Group Relations

  • Robert Cliquet
  • Dragana Avramov


In this chapter four major categories of group relations are addressed, which are based on: (1) kin and family; (2) social status; (3) race, ethnicity, worldview, or political conviction; and (4) statehood. The evolutionary background, developments in modernity and ethical reflections for the future are discussed for each of them. Family relations are discussed in the broadest possible meaning, in order to include all variants appearing in modernity. The evolutionary origin of the family is explained, the changes that families experience in modernity are sketched, and ethical reflections for the future are suggested. The evolutionary heritage and modern changes of our drives for status achievement, egalitarianism, and distaste for relative deprivation are described. Major ethical forward looking aspects in the evolutionary perspective are presented. Competition with respect to social disparities based on race, ethnicity, worldview or political conviction are highlighted in their common evolutionary background grounded in the in-group/out-group syndrome. Regarding relations between states, the evolutionary heritage of intergroup conflict leading to present day governance systems is recalled. Ethical aspects of international relations that represent challenges for the future are identified.

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Anthropology and Social BiologyGhent UniversityGhentBelgium
  2. 2.Population and Family Study Centre (CBGS), Flemish Scientific InstituteBrusselsBelgium
  3. 3.Population and Social Policy Consultants (PSPC)BrusselsBelgium

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