If there’s one thing nearly all people can agree on, it’s that some actions are morally right and others are wrong. But which actions count as right or wrong? That gets a bit more complicated. In some societies, polygamy is normal and proper. In others, taking a second wife can get you imprisoned. Some societies value individual rights and autonomy, while others emphasize collective obligations and hierarchy. In the face of such dazzling differences, how are we supposed to develop a coherent – much less scientific – understanding of “morality?” In a recent paper, a team of researchers at Oxford tried to answer this question by arguing that morality is always about cooperation – and they crunched data from wildly different societies all over the world to make their case. 

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