David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
In Francisco José Ayala & Robert Arp (eds.), Contemporary Debates in Philosophy of Biology. Wiley-Blackwell Pub (2010)
This paper is interested in the relationship between evolutionary thinking and moral behavior and commitments, ethics. There is a traditional way of forging or conceiving of the relationship. This is traditional evolutionary ethics, known as Social Darwinism. Many think that this position is morally pernicious, a redescription of the worst aspects of modern, laissez-faire capitalism in fancy biological language. It is argued that, in fact, there is much more to be said for Social Darwinism than many think. In respects, it could be and was an enlightened position to take; but it flounders on the matter of justification. Universally, the appeal is to progress—evolution is progressive and, hence, morally we should aid its success. I argue, however, that this progressive nature of evolution is far from obvious and, hence, traditional social Darwinism fails. There is another way to do things. This is to argue that the search for justification is mistaken. Ethics just is. It is an adaptation for humans living socially and has exactly the same status as other adaptations, like hands and teeth and genitalia. As such, ethics is something with no standing beyond what it is. However, if we all thought that this was so, we would stop being moral. So part of the experience of ethics is that it is more than it is. We think that it has an objective referent. In short, ethics is an illusion put in place by our genes to make us good social cooperators.
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
Inéz Melichová & Robert Burgan (2013). Scientific Realism and Philosophical Naturalism in Šmajs' Evolutionary Ontology. Human Affairs 23 (4):556-575.
Similar books and articles
Donovan Miyasaki (2007). A Ground for Ethics in Heidegger's Being and Time. Journal of the British Society for Phenomenology 38 (3):261-79.
Stephen R. L. Clark (2000). Biology and Christian Ethics. Cambridge University Press.
Janet Radcliffe Richards (2000). Human Nature After Darwin: A Philosophical Introduction. Routledge.
Alexander Rosenberg (2000). Darwinism in Philosophy, Social Science, and Policy. Cambridge University Press.
Hans-Peter Weikard (1992). A Methodological Note on Ethics, Economics, and the Justification of Action. Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 5 (2):183-188.
Francisco Ayala (2010). What the Biological Sciences Can and Cannot Contribute to Ethics. In Francisco José Ayala & Robert Arp (eds.), Contemporary Debates in Philosophy of Biology. Wiley-Blackwell Pub.
Christine Clavien (forthcoming). Evolution, Society, and Ethics: Social Darwinism Versus Evolutionary Ethics. In Thomas Heams (ed.), Handbook of Evolutionary Biology (provis. Title). Springer
Peter T. Saunders (2003). Bricks Without Straw: Darwinism in the Social Sciences. Theoria 18 (3):259-272.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads55 ( #44,654 of 1,699,800 )
Recent downloads (6 months)6 ( #105,649 of 1,699,800 )
How can I increase my downloads?