The Ethics of Evolution

The Ethics of Evolution : A Lecture Given Before the Cambridge Conferences and the Brooklyn Ethical Association (Classic Reprint)

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Excerpt from The Ethics of Evolution: A Lecture Given Before the Cambridge Conferences and the Brooklyn Ethical Association The subject of this paper is distinctively the Ethics of Evolution, not the Evolution Of Ethics - ih other words, is the kind of ethics to which man is logically brought by the process of evolution, and not the process itself by which the results are brought about Nevertheless, as there are differences of view among evolutionists with regard to the exact nature of the process, and as the results reached depend for their certainty somewhat on the view taken of how they are reached, I want, as a pre liminary, to review the process part of the matter, and to state what is special in my own conception Of its nature. First, while accepting in general the revised utilitarian theory that ethics is the outcome under evolution of the accumulated experiences of our race with regard to what is fittest in conduct, consolidated into intuitions and transmitted from generation to generation by heredity, the theory so brilliantly set forth by Mr. Spencer and his disciples, I cannot go with them in the prominence they give to pleasure and pain as the chief things for which these experiences have been useful, or in holding, as they state it, that acts are good or bad according as their aggregate effects increase men's happiness or increase their misery. Utilitarianism Is not necessarily confined to utility for happiness. To get at nature's form of it we must get at what nature wants things to be useful for, that is, at what nature in evolution is trying to bring about. What is it? Plainly, not pleasure alone, or pleasure even in the form of happiness, but growth, fuller and finer life, an ever better state of things alike in the universe at large and in its individual parts. As Longfellow has truly put it. About the Publisher Forgotten Books publishes hundreds of thousands of rare and classic books. Find more at www.forgottenbooks.com This book is a reproduction of an important historical work. Forgotten Books uses state-of-the-art technology to digitally reconstruct the work, preserving the original format whilst repairing imperfections present in the aged copy. In rare cases, an imperfection in the original, such as a blemish or missing page, may be replicated in our edition. We do, however, repair the vast majority of imperfections successfully; any imperfections that remain are intentionally left to preserve the state of such historical works.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 56 pages
  • 152 x 229 x 3mm | 86g
  • Forgotten Books
  • United States
  • English
  • , black & white illustrations
  • 0243255160
  • 9780243255160