Even Monkeys sense the moral law


Even a monkey has a sense of the universal and objective moral law.

6 comments Add comment

Taylor Marshall December 4, 2009 at 4:03 pm

Awesome video! Thank you for sharing!!!


Scott December 5, 2009 at 3:53 pm

The look on that monkey’s face is just priceless!

Even so, I don’t think this shows anything about moral law. This just shows that monkeys are self-loving and don’t like when they lose because the rules change. No one, no matter how amoral, likes to lose. There’s a big difference between having a moral sense and just being selfish. To prove that they can sense some objective moral law, you would need to give the monkey the opportunity to cheat, and see whether they take it.

Matthew Warner December 5, 2009 at 4:47 pm

Thanks for the thoughts, Scott! It was mostly just in jest…however, I think any time somebody (or even a monkey perhaps) appeals to a sense of “fairness” (like being upset because somebody unfairly cheats them) they are appealing indirectly to some kind of unwritten moral standard. The monkey wasn’t upset when he lost a hand…just when he was cheated – at least that’s how it’s portrayed. If he was simply motivated by selfishness, he should have been equally upset when he lost fairly as he was when he lost unfairly.

What you are suggesting (that we would need to give the monkey the opportunity to himself cheat) would only test how moral the monkey is. Not whether or not he has a sense of an objective morality.

Appealing to an objective moral standard and the ability to follow that same standard are two different things. In other words, it’s entirely possible to have a sense of the moral law and still, in our imperfectness, disobey it. We do it all the time when we sin.

Mark December 6, 2009 at 9:30 pm


Let’s not read too much into all of this…the purpose here is really just to have some harmless fun :)

Christian Barbosa December 6, 2009 at 9:51 pm

Monkeys and Morality: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/environment/article5733638.ece

heres the stuff behind the humorous clip…

Dion December 7, 2009 at 10:41 pm

That monkey would also take your face off if you set him off wrong.

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