Do we really care about right and wrong, or are we just virtue signalling?
Unthinkable: Morality has got humans this far, but do we need to outgrow it?
‘We evolved to signal our moral credentials to other people.’ Photograph: Getty images
Friedrich Nietzsche was probably the world’s most effective critic of morality and certainly the most famous. Writing at a time when Christianity was the default belief system, he highlighted the snivelling resentment that lay behind much religious piety and the fact that charity was largely a kind of virtue signalling.
Today the time is ripe for a very different critique of morality, as Christian consensus makes way for tribal ethics, rudderless moral reasoning and mean-spirited social-media pile-ons. Into this realm steps Chris Paley, author of Beyond Bad: How Obsolete Morals are Holding Us Back (Coronet).