‘Moral ecology’ is a new term that I have adopted to describe the thrust of my thesis (thanks to John Wilkins for a fruitful conversation at PBDB4 leading to the coining of this term). Basically, I’m claiming that:
If we have an evolved moral sense – and I think there’s ample evidence that we do – then we would not expect it to function in an identical way between individuals. Instead, we would expect a diversity in the function of the moral sense between individuals, and a corresponding diversity of moral intuitions and moral judgements.
This is because there is no one solution to the problems of morality that are best in every environment or circumstance, so evolution has equipped us – individually and as populations – with a variety of strategies that increase the likelihood that we’ll be able to successfully respond to a wide range of situations and environments (and by ‘environment’, this also includes the strategies employed by other individuals).
Thus we get a ‘moral ecology’ – a diverse range of strategies that each perform well in their niche, while it lasts, but no one strategy that pushes out all others.
Many of the terms above need to be qualified and placed in their correct evolutionary/psychological/philosophical contexts, and much argument needs to be made to back it all up, but that’s detail.
Effectively, it’s a broadside against the idea that morality need be monolithic, and if there’s moral disagreement between two individuals, it’s because one (or both) of them is in error in some way. In fact, the diversity and tension between different moral perspectives is healthy and helps to keep the system from snapping over to an extreme.
That’s ‘moral ecology’.