Ruse's Darwinian meta-ethics: A critique [Book Review]

Biology and Philosophy 8 (4):423-439 (1993)
Michael Ruse, in Taking Darwin Seriously seeks to establish that taking Darwin seriously requires us to treat morality as subjective and naturalistic. I argue that, if morality is not objective, then we have no good reason for being moral if we can avoid detection and punishment. As a consequence, we will only continue to behave morally as long as we remain ignorant of Ruse''s theory, that is, as long as the cat is not let out of the bag. Ruse offers a number of arguments to show that his theory can overcome such problems. I argue that they all fail. Ruse also argues that he can offer a naturalistic account of ethics which steps around the naturalistic fallacy and avoids the confusion of reasons with causes. His principal argument for this view is an analogy between spiritualism and morality. I argue that this analogy fails.
Keywords Meta-ethics  Ruse  sociology  ethical subjectivism  ethical naturalism  naturalistic fallacy
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DOI 10.1007/BF00857688
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Plato (1894). The Republic. Courier Dover Publications.

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Alexander Rosenberg (1980). Ruse's Treatment of the Evidence for Evolution: A Reconsideration. PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1980:83 - 93.
John Lemos (2001). A Defense of Darwinian Accounts of Morality. Philosophy of the Social Sciences 31 (3):361-385.

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