The SNSF Eccellenza project explores the complex relations of empirical evidence, scientific explanations, ideological assumptions, and practical implications in research on the evolution of human features.

Such research draws on various kinds of empirical evidence, constructs a complex historical narrative, and makes use of different kinds of explanations ranging from causal-historical, to functional, and how-possibly explanations. The aim of our research is to test the plausibility of such narratives – with a particular focus on the evolution of cooperation, morality, social emotions, and epistemic norms.

A main aim of the project is to ask to what extent ideological and interpretive elements enter these explanations and to investigate the role and legitimacy of such elements in theories about the evolution of human features.