The Data of Ethics

The Data of Ethics

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Herbert Spencer (1820-1903), Victorian philosopher, biologist, sociologist and political theorist, one of the founders of Social Darwinism and author of the phrase 'survival of the fittest', was nominated for the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1902, losing out to Theodor Mommsen. Spencer left his post at The Economist in 1857 to focus on writing his ten-volume System of Synthetic Philosophy, a work that offers an ethics-based guide to human conduct to replace that provided by conventional religious belief. Published in 1879, this volume seeks to demonstrate that social evolution tends towards greater individualism, altruism and co-operation. Spencer argues that it is possible to establish rules of right conduct on a scientific basis, and declares that this work is the culmination of his life's study. He was anxious to publish it outside the planned order of the System, because he feared (wrongly) that his death would prevent its completion.
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Product details

  • Electronic book text
  • Cambridge University Press (Virtual Publishing)
  • Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 1139149806
  • 9781139149808

Table of contents

Preface; 1. Conduct in general; 2. The evolution of conduct; 3. Good and bad conduct; 4. Ways of judging conduct; 5. The physical view; 6. The biological view; 7. The psychological view; 8. The sociological view; 9. Criticisms and explanations; 10. The relativity of pains and pleasures; 11. Egoism versus altruism; 12. Altruism versus egoism; 13. Trial and compromise; 14. Conciliation; 15. Absolute ethics and relative ethics; 16. The scope of ethics.
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Rating details

8 ratings
3.12 out of 5 stars
5 25% (2)
4 12% (1)
3 38% (3)
2 0% (0)
1 25% (2)
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