Determinism and the antiquated deontology of the social sciences

This article shows how the social sciences rejected hard determinism by the mid-twentieth century largely on the deontological basis that it is irreconcilable with social justice, yet this rejection came just before a burst of creative development in consequentialist theories of social justice that problematize a facile rejection of determinism on moral grounds, a development that has seldom been recognized in the social sciences. Thus the current social science view of determinism and social justice is antiquated, ignoring numerous common and well-respected arguments within philosophy that hard determinism can be reconciled with a just society. We support this argument by briefly tracing the parallel development of stances on determinism in the social sciences and the deontological-consequentialist debate in philosophy. The article concludes with a brief consideration of deterministic consequentialist ethics, social justice, and the problems of egoism and altruism.
Keywords Determinism  environmental determinism  geographic determinism  deontology  consequentialism  virtue ethics  indeterminism  philosophy of the social sciences  ethics  evolutionary psychology
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