Evolution and Ethics: Delivered in the Sheldonian Theatre, May 18, 1893

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In 1893, the biologist and educator Thomas Henry Huxley (1825–95) published the text of a public lecture on ethics and evolutionary theory. He opens Evolution and Ethics with the story of Jack and the Bean Stalk as a metaphor for cyclical evolution—the small seed that becomes a mature plant. Huxley then takes the reader on a journey through two culturally different belief systems Buddhism and Greek intellectual thought — to illustrate human attempts to understand the 'cosmic process'. Huxley outlines the growth of differing concepts of justice as populations became more organised, and how different societies dealt with the knowledge that nature is unjust. Huxley abhors the harsh applications of Darwin's work to society and decries the 'gladiatorial theory of existence'. Arguing against the concept of social Darwinism, Huxley proposes that ethical behaviour must counteract the painful effects of the 'struggle for survival' in order for society to progress.

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Product Details

Meet the Author

Michael Ruse is the Lucyle T. Werkmeister Professor of Philosophy at Florida State University. His many books include "Darwinism and Its Discontents" and "Darwin and Design".
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Table of Contents

Evolution and Ethics; Notes.

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