Evolution Ethics

Author: Thomas Henry Huxley
Publisher: Princeton University Press
ISBN: 9780691141305
Format: PDF, Mobi
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'Evolution and Ethics' widely considered to be Huxley's greatest lecture, distilled a lifetime's wisdom and sensitive understanding of the nature and needs of humankind. This new edition places it in its original context while showing its even deeper relevance for our own time.

Evolution and Ethics

Author: Thomas Henry Huxley
Publisher:
ISBN: 9781591021261
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These two essays by the famous 19th-century champion of Darwin’s theory of evolution tackle a subject that is still a major focus of ethical debates today: the relation of science as a whole, and specifically evolutionary ideas, to ethics and morality. Written toward the end of Huxley’s career when he was already famous as a persuasive lecturer and a fascinating expositor of new ideas, these essays demonstrate his rhetorical gifts and talent for explaining the importance of science to a lay audience. "Evolution and Ethics," his last major talk delivered at Oxford in 1893, was written in response to the then fashionable "Social Darwinism" popularized by philosopher Herbert Spencer. Spencer and his followers had been labeling the poor, criminals, and other social undesirables as "unfit" and suggesting that society deal with them as harshly as nature deals with the physically unfit. Huxley found this approach both morally repugnant and a serious misapplication of Darwinian theory to the subject of ethics. Society progresses, Huxley maintained, through individuals who prove themselves to be ethically the best, not physically the most fit. Ethics is designed to curb our antisocial animal instincts and therefore must be detached from natural competition. In "Science and Morals," written some years earlier (1886), Huxley addresses three criticisms: namely, that he and his associates refuse to take seriously anything that (1) cannot be verified by the senses, that (2) is beyond the bounds of physical science, and that (3) cannot be subjected to laboratory experimentation and chemical analysis. To all of these criticisms Huxley replies that he takes very seriously a host of mental phenomena that do not, strictly speaking, fall within these narrow physical limits: the universal law of causation, or the esthetic pleasure of the arts, or the truths of mathematics, for example. He goes on to say that he repudiates the doctrine of Materialism as much as he does that of Spiritualism, and that he coined the term "Agnostic" to apply to his own particular philosophical viewpoint. He concludes with comments on the existence of God and free will, suggesting that science does not necessarily rule out either postulate. Students of ethics, the history of science, and the ongoing debates over evolution will welcome this new edition of two masterful essays by "Darwin’s Bulldog."

Science and the Self

Author: Ian James Kidd
Publisher: Routledge
ISBN: 1317482921
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
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Mary Midgley is one of the most important moral philosophers working today. Over the last thirty years, her writings have informed debates concerning animals, the environment and evolutionary theory. The invited essays in this volume offer critical reflections upon Midgley’s work and further developments of her ideas. The contributors include many of the leading commentators on her work, including distinguished figures from the disciplines of philosophy, biology, and ethology. The range of topics includes the moral status of animals, the concept of wickedness, science and mythology, Midgley’s relationship to modern moral philosophy, and her relationship with Iris Murdoch. It also includes the first full bibliography of Midgley’s writings. The volume is the first major study of its kind and brings together contributions from the many disciplines which Midgley’s work has influenced. It provides a clear account of the themes and significance of her work and its implications for ongoing debates about our understanding of our place within the world.

Evolution and Ethics

Author: Philip Clayton
Publisher: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing
ISBN: 9780802826954
Format: PDF, ePub, Docs
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Certain to engage scholars, students, and general readers alike, Evolution and Ethics offers a balanced, levelheaded, constructive approach to an often divisive debate.

The Science of Good and Evil

Author: Michael Shermer
Publisher: Macmillan
ISBN: 9781429996754
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From bestselling author Michael Shermer, an investigation of the evolution of morality that is "a paragon of popularized science and philosophy" The Sun (Baltimore) A century and a half after Darwin first proposed an "evolutionary ethics," science has begun to tackle the roots of morality. Just as evolutionary biologists study why we are hungry (to motivate us to eat) or why sex is enjoyable (to motivate us to procreate), they are now searching for the very nature of humanity. In The Science of Good and Evil, science historian Michael Shermer explores how humans evolved from social primates to moral primates; how and why morality motivates the human animal; and how the foundation of moral principles can be built upon empirical evidence. Along the way he explains the implications of scientific findings for fate and free will, the existence of pure good and pure evil, and the development of early moral sentiments among the first humans. As he closes the divide between science and morality, Shermer draws on stories from the Yanamamö, infamously known as the "fierce people" of the tropical rain forest, to the Stanford studies on jailers' behavior in prisons. The Science of Good and Evil is ultimately a profound look at the moral animal, belief, and the scientific pursuit of truth.

The Evolution of Morality

Author: Richard Joyce
Publisher: MIT Press
ISBN: 9780262263252
Format: PDF, Kindle
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Moral thinking pervades our practical lives, but where did this way of thinking come from, and what purpose does it serve? Is it to be explained by environmental pressures on our ancestors a million years ago, or is it a cultural invention of more recent origin? In The Evolution of Morality, Richard Joyce takes up these controversial questions, finding that the evidence supports an innate basis to human morality. As a moral philosopher, Joyce is interested in whether any implications follow from this hypothesis. Might the fact that the human brain has been biologically prepared by natural selection to engage in moral judgment serve in some sense to vindicate this way of thinking -- staving off the threat of moral skepticism, or even undergirding some version of moral realism? Or if morality has an adaptive explanation in genetic terms -- if it is, as Joyce writes, "just something that helped our ancestors make more babies" -- might such an explanation actually undermine morality's central role in our lives? He carefully examines both the evolutionary "vindication of morality" and the evolutionary "debunking of morality," considering the skeptical view more seriously than have others who have treated the subject.Interdisciplinary and combining the latest results from the empirical sciences with philosophical discussion, The Evolution of Morality is one of the few books in this area written from the perspective of moral philosophy. Concise and without technical jargon, the arguments are rigorous but accessible to readers from different academic backgrounds. Joyce discusses complex issues in plain language while advocating subtle and sometimes radical views. The Evolution of Morality lays the philosophical foundations for further research into the biological understanding of human morality.

Ethics and the Sociology of Morals

Author: Émile Durkheim
Publisher: Prometheus Books
ISBN: 1615926968
Format: PDF, ePub
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Emile Durkheim (1858-1917) was one of the founders of modern sociology. Ethics and the Sociology of Morals (La science positive de la morale en Allemagne) laid the foundation for Durkheim's future work. More than a review of current thought, it was a proclamation that ethics needed to be liberated from its philosophical bondage and developed as a distinct branch of sociology. Written when Durkheim was charting the course of his own research, it provides a unique key to the interpretation of his earlier work and presents a number of points of Durkheim's ethical theory which are of considerable interest in light of current ethical theory. This volume makes available in English a crucial essay by a master of social thought.. . solid contribution to the project of understanding Durkheim's life and work . . .[brings] fresh information and fresh perspectives to Durkheim scholarship. -Contemporary Sociology

The Expanding Circle

Author: Peter Singer
Publisher: Princeton University Press
ISBN: 9781400838431
Format: PDF, Mobi
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What is ethics? Where do moral standards come from? Are they based on emotions, reason, or some innate sense of right and wrong? For many scientists, the key lies entirely in biology--especially in Darwinian theories of evolution and self-preservation. But if evolution is a struggle for survival, why are we still capable of altruism? In his classic study The Expanding Circle, Peter Singer argues that altruism began as a genetically based drive to protect one's kin and community members but has developed into a consciously chosen ethic with an expanding circle of moral concern. Drawing on philosophy and evolutionary psychology, he demonstrates that human ethics cannot be explained by biology alone. Rather, it is our capacity for reasoning that makes moral progress possible. In a new afterword, Singer takes stock of his argument in light of recent research on the evolution of morality.

Mind and Morals

Author: Larry May
Publisher: MIT Press
ISBN: 9780262631655
Format: PDF, Mobi
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The essays in this anthology deal with the growing interconnections between moral philosophy and research that draws upon neuroscience, developmental psychology, and evolutionary biology. This cross-disciplinary interchange coincides, not accidentally, with the renewed interest in ethical naturalism. In order to understand the nature and limits of moral reasoning, many new ethical naturalists look to cognitive science for an account of how people actually reason. At the same time, many cognitive scientists have become increasingly interested in moral reasoning as a complex form of human cognition that challenges their theoretical models. The result of this collaborative, and often critical, interchange is an exciting intellectual ferment at the frontiers of research into human mentality. Sections and Contributors: Ethics NaturalizedOwen Flanagan, Mark L. Johnson, Virginia Held Moral Judgments, Representations, and PrototypesPaul M. Churchland, Andy Clark, Peggy DesAutels, Ruth Garrett Millikan Moral EmotionsRobert M. Gordon, Alvin I. Goldman, John Deigh, Naomi Scheman Agency and ResponsibilityJames P. Sterba, Susan Khin-Zaw, Helen E. Longino, Michael E. Bratman A Bradford Book

Moral Minds

Author: Marc Hauser
Publisher: Harper Collins
ISBN: 0061864781
Format: PDF, Mobi
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In his groundbreaking book, Marc Hauser puts forth a revolutionary new theory: that humans have evolved a universal moral instinct, unconsciously propelling us to deliver judgments of right and wrong independent of gender, education, and religion. Combining his cutting-edge research with the latest findings in cognitive psychology, linguistics, neuroscience, evolutionary biology, economics, and anthropology, Hauser explores the startling implications of his provocative theory vis-à-vis contemporary bioethics, religion, the law, and our everyday lives.