David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Zygon 34 (3):473-484 (1999)
The development of modern evolutionary ethics began shortly after the publication of Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species by Natural Selection. Early discussions were plagued by several problems. First, evolutionary ethical explanations were dependent on group-selection accounts of social behavior (especially the explanation of altruism). Second, they seem to violate the philosophical principle that “ought” statements cannot be derived from “is” statements alone (values cannot be derivedfrom facts alone). Third, evolutionary ethics appeared to be biologically deterministic, deemed incompatible with the free will required for ethics to be possible. Fourth, social policies based on evolutionary theory (for example, eugenics in the early part of this century) seemed patently unethical. Sociobiology (which coalesced as a field of study with Edward O. Wilson's Sociobiology: The New Synthesis, 1975) addressed several of these problems and provided a rich framework and a new impetus for evolutionary ethics. The lingering problems were the philosophical is-ought barrier and biological determinism. After tracing the early and more recent development of evolutionary ethics, I argue that the remaining problems can be surmounted and an incipient evolutionary ethics can be defended. Thoroughgoing evolutionaryethics must await theoretical developments in neurobiology and cognitive science.
|Keywords||biology of morality ethics evolution evolutionary ethics morality naturalistic fallacy sociobiology|
|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
Lindsay J. Thompson (2010). The Global Moral Compass for Business Leaders. Journal of Business Ethics 93 (1):15 - 32.
Similar books and articles
Robert Richards (1986). A Defense of Evolutionary Ethics. Biology and Philosophy 1 (3):265-293.
David Sloan-Wilson, Eric Dietrich & Anne Clark (2003). On the Inappropriate Use of the Naturalistic Fallacy in Evolutionary Psychology. Biology and Philosophy 18 (5):669-681.
Wim J. van der Steen (1999). Methodological Problems in Evolutionary Biology. XII. Against Evolutionary Ethics. Acta Biotheoretica 47 (1):41-57.
William A. Rottschaefer (1997). Evolutionary Ethics: An Irresistible Temptation: Some Reflections on Paul Farber's the Temptation of Evolutionary Ethics. [REVIEW] Biology and Philosophy 12 (3):369-384.
David Sloan Wilson, Eric Dietrich & Anne B. Clark (2003). On the Inappropriate Use of the Naturalistic Fallacy in Evolutionary Psychology. Biology and Philosophy 18 (5):669-81.
Neil Levy (2010). The Prospects for Evolutionary Ethics Today. EurAmerica 40 (3):529-571.
Scott M. James (2011). An Introduction to Evolutionary Ethics. Wiley-Blackwell.
Sam Rayner, Too Strong for Principle: An Examination of the Theory and Philosophical Implications of Evolutionary Ethics.
Paul Farber (1998). The Temptations of Evolutionary Ethics. University of California Press.
John Collier & Michael Stingl (2013). Evolutionary Moral Realism. Biological Theory 7 (3):218-226.
K. G. Ferguson (2001). Semantic and Structural Problems in Evolutionary Ethics. Biology and Philosophy 16 (1):69-84.
Jason M. Byron (2005). Sociobiology. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Sefa Hayibor (2009). Evolutionary Psychology and Business Ethics Research. Business Ethics Quarterly 19 (4):587-616.
Added to index2012-04-03
Total downloads127 ( #20,149 of 1,725,989 )
Recent downloads (6 months)4 ( #183,615 of 1,725,989 )
How can I increase my downloads?