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Biology and the Foundations of Ethics

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Overview

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.
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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
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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
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