Biology and the Foundations of Ethics

Biology and the Foundations of Ethics

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There has been much attention devoted in recent years to the question of whether our moral principles can be related to our biological nature. This collection of essays focuses on the connection between biology, in particular evolutionary biology, and foundational questions in ethics. The book asks such questions as whether humans are innately selfish, and whether there are particular facets of human nature that bear directly on social practices. The volume is organised historically beginning with Aristotle and covering such major figures as Hume and Darwin down to the present and the work of Harvard sociobiologist, E. O. Wilson. This is the first book to offer this historical perspective on the relation of biology and ethics, and has been written by some of the leading figures in the history and philosophy of science, whose work stands very much at the cutting edge of these disciplines.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 346 pages
  • 153 x 229 x 21mm | 485g
  • Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 1 Line drawings, unspecified
  • 0521559235
  • 9780521559232
  • 1,481,408

Table of contents

Introduction Michael Ruse and Jane Maienschein; 1. Aristotle on the biological roots of virtue: the natural history of natural virtue James G. Lennox; 2. The moral status of animals in the eighteenth century British philosophy Michael Bradie; 3. From natural to evolutionary ethics Phillip Sloan; 4. French evolutionary ethics during the Third Republic Paul Farber; 5. The state and nature of unity and freedom Myles Jackson; 6. Darwin's Romantic biology, the foundation of his evolutionary ethics Robert J. Richards; 7. Nietzsche and Darwin Jean Gayon; 8. Evolutionary ethics in the twentieth century: Julian Sorrel Huxley and George Gaylord Simpson Michael Ruse; 9. The laws of inheritance and the rules of morality: early geneticists on evolution and ethics Marga Vicedo; 10. Scientific responsibility and political context: the case of genetics under the Swastika Diane Paul and Raphael Falk; 11. The case against revolutionary ethics today Peter Woolcock; 12. Biology and value theory Robert J. McShea and Daniel McShea.
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Review quote

"Evolution is present in some essays, but the general effort of the contributors - 'to ground ethics in nature' - provides a profitable read on the important issues in biology and science, especially for biologists, philosophers and social scientists." Research News and Opportunities in Science and Theology
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