Sociobiology and Concern for the Future

Journal of Applied Philosophy 6 (2):141-148 (1989)
Abstract
ABSTRACT Despite its excesses, sociobiology can make a useful contribution to ethics, if it is recognised that it need not impinge on free‐will, and if the ‘naturalistic fallacy’ can be avoided. This contribution is the central concept of evolutionary stability, and the implication which can be drawn from it, that concern for the future is a basic part of human nature. In stable societies, such concern is manifested as fear of change, or strict adherence to tradition, but modern ideas of progress have engendered a cavalier attitude to the more distant future, and current ethical systems cannot get to grips with duties towards future generations. It is suggested that the popularity of sociobiology and the present‐day interest in conservation both reflect an aspect of human nature which has too long been neglected by moralists
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