David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Biology and Philosophy 6 (3):341-349 (1991)
Robert Richards has presented a detailed defense of evolutionary ethics, a revised version of Darwin's views and a major modification of E. O. Wilson's. He contends that humans have evolved to seek the community welfare by acting altruistically. And since the community welfare is the highest moral good, humans ought to act altruistically. Richards asks us to take his empirical premises on faith and aims to show how they can justify an ethical conclusion. He identifies two necessary conditions for a naturalistic justification of morality (NJ): its premises (1) must be empirical and (2) concerned with morally relevant causal factors. I argue that these two conditions are insufficient. An NJ must also appeal to teleogical or teleonomic laws which identify proper effects and reliable causes of these effects. So I supplement biological faith with an NJ that I believe has a better chance of working since faith without works is dead.
|Keywords||Altruism evolutionary ethics naturalistic justification|
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References found in this work BETA
Robert Richards (1989). Darwin and the Emergence of Evolutionary Theories of Mind and Behavior. Journal of the History of Biology 22 (2):361-367.
L. Wright (1976). Teleological Explanations: An Etiological Analysis of Goals and Functions. University of California Press.
H. Kornblith (ed.) (1994). Naturalizing Epistemology. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press.
Ernst Mayr (1974). Teleological and Teleonomic, a New Analysis. In R. S. Cohen & Marx W. Wartofsky (eds.), Methodological and Historical Essays in the Natural and Social Sciences. Boston,Reidel 91--117.
Robert Richards (1986). A Defense of Evolutionary Ethics. Biology and Philosophy 1 (3):265-293.
Citations of this work BETA
John Lemos (1999). Bridging the Is/Ought Gap with Evolutionary Biology: Is This a Bridge Too Far? Southern Journal of Philosophy 37 (4):559-577.
William A. Rottschaefer (1995). Gustafson's Theocentrism and Scientific Naturalistic Philosophy: A Marriage Made in Heaven? Zygon 30 (2):211-220.
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