Two Genealogies of Human Values: Nietzsche Versus Edward O. Wilson on the Consilience of Philosophy, Science and Technology

Science and Engineering Ethics 26 (1):255-274 (2020)
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In the twenty-first century, Stephen Hawking proclaimed the death of philosophy. Only science can address philosophy’s perennial questions about human values. The essay first examines Nietzsche’s nineteenth century view to the contrary that philosophy alone can create values. A critique of Nietzsche’s contention that philosophy rather than science is competent to judge values follows. The essay then analyzes Edward O. Wilson’s claim that his scientific research provides empirically-based answers to philosophy’s questions about human values. Wilson’s bold new hypothesis about the ‘social conquest of the earth’ challenges Nietzsche’s vision of philosophy’s mission. Confronting both Nietzsche and Wilson, the essay then considers three theoretical proposals for a consilience of philosophy, science, engineering and technology. The conclusion presents a working African model of consilience that addresses the existential problem of poverty in the Global South.



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Charles Verharen
Howard University

References found in this work

On Human Nature.Edward O. Wilson - 1978 - Harvard University Press.
Essay Review: Sociobiology: Twenty-Five Years Later. [REVIEW]Edward O. Wilson - 1975 - Journal of the History of Biology 33 (3):577-584.
Beyond Good and Evil.Friedrich Nietzsche & Helen Zimmern - 1908 - International Journal of Ethics 18 (4):517-518.
Nietzsche: Philosopher, Psychologist, Antichrist.Walter Arnold Kaufmann - 2014 - Princeton: Princeton University Press.

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