Evolutionary ethics: An irresistible temptation: Some reflections on Paul Farber's the temptation of evolutionary ethics [Book Review]

Biology and Philosophy 12 (3):369-384 (1997)
In his recent The Temptation of Evolutionary Ethics, Paul Farber has given a negative assessment of the last one hundred years of attempts in Anglo-American philosophy, beginning with Darwin, to develop an evolutionary ethics. Farber identifies some version of the naturalistic fallacy as one of the central sources for the failures of evolutionary ethics. For this reason, and others, Farber urges that though it has its attraction, evolutionary ethics is a temptation to be resisted. In this discussion I identify three major, historically relevant forms of the naturalistic fallacy, the (1) the deductive, (2) genetic, and (3) open question forms and argue that none of them pose an intrinsic problem for evolutionary ethics. I conclude that on this score at least there is no reason to resist temptation.
Keywords empathy  evolutionary ethics  naturalistic fallacy  scientific naturalistic ethics
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Reprint years 2004
DOI 10.1023/A:1006521926083
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