David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Biology and Philosophy 2 (3):253-270 (1987)
Many think that evolutionary biology has relevance to ethics, but how far that relevance extends is a matter of debate. It is easy to show that pop sociobiological approaches to ethics all commit some type of naturalistic fallacy. More sophisticated attempts, like Donald Campbell's, or, more recently, Robert Richards', are not so easily refuted, but I will show that they too reason fallaciously from facts to values. What remains is the possibility of an evolutionary search for human nature. Unfortunately, evolutionary theory itself seems to imply that the quest for human nature will not be very promising. As far as there is such a thing as human nature, we will have to know it before we can meaningfully talk about its evolution. Anthropological data suggest that we differ widely in our normative judgments. And even where we seem to agree, there is good reason to doubt that we really do so.
|Keywords||Ethics evolution sociobiology|
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Citations of this work BETA
Michael T. Ghiselin (1988). The Individuality Thesis, Essences, and Laws of Nature. Biology and Philosophy 3 (4):467-474.
Robert J. Richards (1989). Dutch Objections to Evolutionary Ethics. Biology and Philosophy 4 (3):331-343.
William A. Rottschaefer (1991). Evolutionary Naturalistic Justifications of Morality: A Matter of Faith and Works. [REVIEW] Biology and Philosophy 6 (3):341-349.
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.
Michael Ruse (1988). Evolutionary Ethics: Healthy Prospect or Last Infirmity? Canadian Journal of Philosophy 14 (Supp):27-73.
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