Biology and the Foundations of Ethics

Paperback (Print)
Buy New
Buy New from
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $15.00
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 66%)
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (15) from $15.00   
  • New (7) from $19.59   
  • Used (8) from $15.00   


Much attention has been devoted in recent years to the question of whether our moral principles can be related to our biological nature. This collection of new essays focuses on the connections between biology, in particular evolutionary biology, and foundational questions in ethics. The book asks, for example, whether humans are innately selfish and whether there are particular facets of human nature that bear directly on social practices. The volume is organized 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. It is one of the first efforts to provide historical perspective on the relationships between biology and ethics, and it has been written by some of the leading figures in the history and philosophy of science, authors whose work is very much at the cutting edge of these disciplines.
Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"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
Read More Show Less

Product Details

Table of Contents

Introduction 1
1 Aristotle on the Biological Roots of Virtue: The Natural History of Natural Virtue 10
2 The Moral Status of Animals in Eighteenth-Century British Philosophy 32
3 From Natural Law to Evolutionary Ethics in Enlightenment French Natural History 52
4 French Evolutionary Ethics during the Third Republic: Jean de Lanessan 84
5 The State and Nature of Unity and Freedom: German Romantic Biology and Ethics 98
6 Darwin's Romantic Biology: The Foundation of His Evolutionary Ethics 113
7 Nietzsche and Darwin 154
8 Evolutionary Ethics in the Twentieth Century: Julian Sorell Huxley and George Gaylord Simpson 198
9 The Laws of Inheritance and the Rules of Morality: Early Geneticists on Evolution and Ethics 225
10 Scientific Responsibility and Political Context: The Case of Genetics under the Swastika 257
11 The Case against Evolutionary Ethics Today 276
12 Biology and Value Theory 307
Notes on Contributors 329
Index 332
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)