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Philosophy after Darwin: Classic and Contemporary Readings

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Wittgenstein famously remarked in 1923, "Darwin's theory has no more relevance for philosophy than any other hypothesis in natural science." Yet today we are witnessing a major revival of interest in applying evolutionary approaches to philosophical problems. Philosophy after Darwin is an anthology of essential writings covering the most influential ideas about the philosophical implications of Darwinism, from the publication of On the Origin of Species to today's cutting-edge research.

Michael Ruse presents writings by leading modern thinkers and researchers--including some writings never before published--together with the most important historical documents on Darwinism and philosophy, starting with Darwin himself. Included here are Herbert Spencer, Friedrich Nietzsche, Thomas Henry Huxley, G. E. Moore, John Dewey, Konrad Lorenz, Stephen Toulmin, Karl Popper, Edward O. Wilson, Hilary Putnam, Philip Kitcher, Elliott Sober, and Peter Singer. Readers will encounter some of the staunchest critics of the evolutionary approach, such as Alvin Plantinga, as well as revealing excerpts from works like Jack London's The Call of the Wild. Ruse's comprehensive general introduction and insightful section introductions put these writings in context and explain how they relate to such fields as epistemology, philosophy of mind, philosophy of language, and ethics.

An invaluable anthology and sourcebook, Philosophy after Darwin traces philosophy's complicated relationship with Darwin's dangerous idea, and shows how this relationship reflects a broad movement toward a secular, more naturalistic understanding of the human experience.

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What People Are Saying

Tim Lewens
In recent years, philosophers have had plenty to say about the relevance of evolutionary thinking to questions about knowledge, rationality, and ethics. This judiciously chosen and wide-ranging set of readings, prefaced by expert introductions from editor Michael Ruse, helps us to understand the current state of play in these debates, and also their historical roots. It is an excellent collection.
Tim Lewens, University of Cambridge
Michael Bradie
A very appealing volume. Philosophy after Darwin is a very useful addition to the Darwinian literature, one that seeks to increase public awareness and appreciation of the significant role that Darwin and his collaborators and successors have had in shaping both our cultural practices and our theoretical understanding of them.
Michael Bradie, Bowling Green State University
R. Paul Thompson
An extremely useful contribution. A collection with the scope and depth of this one on the interrelationship of evolution, epistemology, and ethics has not appeared in a decade. Ruse provides a historical tour of the most influential ideas and arguments that have framed the current investigations. The newly commissioned works included here will push the debate forward.
R. Paul Thompson, University of Toronto
Darwin's influence on philosophy is wide and deep, but not often recognized by professional philosophers, students of philosophy, or general readers. The topics dealt with in Philosophy after Darwin are likely to become even more relevant and important in the future. No other book provides so valuable an introduction, and no other scholar is better qualified to write on Darwin and philosophy than Ruse.
Richard A. Richards, University of Alabama
R. Paul Thompson
An extremely useful contribution. A collection with the scope and depth of this one on the interrelationship of evolution, epistemology, and ethics has not appeared in a decade. Ruse provides a historical tour of the most influential ideas and arguments that have framed the current investigations. The newly commissioned works included here will push the debate forward.
R. Paul Thompson, University of Toronto
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780691135540
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press
  • Publication date: 8/24/2009
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 592
  • Product dimensions: 6.90 (w) x 10.00 (h) x 1.50 (d)

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

Acknowledgments ix
Introduction 1

Part I. Epistemology after Darwin 13

HERBERT SPENCER: The Principles of Psychology 29
CHAUNCEY WRIGHT: The Evolution of Self- Consciousness 34
CHARLES SANDERS PEIRCE: The Fixation of Belief 39
WILLIAM JAMES: Great Men, Great Thoughts, and the Environment 49
JOHN DEWEY: The Influence of Darwinism on Philosophy 55

Part II. Ethics after Darwin 63

CHARLES DARWIN: The Descent of Man 77
HERBERT SPENCER: The Data of Ethics 103
WILLIAM GRAHAM SUMNER: The Challenge of Facts 113
ANDREW CARNEGIE: The Gospel of Wealth 122
KARL PEARSON: Socialism 128
ALFRED RUSSEL WALLACE: Human Progress: Past and Future 133
FRIEDRICH VON BERNHARDI: The Right to Make War 134
JACK LONDON: The Call of the Wild 137
G. E. MOORE: Principia Ethica: Naturalistic Ethics 141
THOMAS HENRY HUXLEY: Evolution and Ethics 152

Part III. The Evolution of Ideas 155

KARL POPPER: Darwinism as a Metaphysical Research Programme 167
THOMAS KUHN: The Structure of Scientific Revolutions 176
STEPHEN TOULMIN: The Evolutionary Development of Natural Science 177
DANIEL C. DENNETT: Memes and the Exploitation of Imagination 189
BRUCE EDMONDS: Three Challenges for the Survival of Memetics 198
DAVID HULL: Altruism in Science: A Sociobiological Model of Cooperative Behavior among Scientists 202
HILARY PUTNAM: Why Reason Cant Be Naturalized: Evolutionary Epistemology 217

Part IV. The Evolution of Rationality 221

KONRAD LORENZ: Kants Doctrine of the A Priori in the Light of Contemporary Biology 231
MICHAEL RUSE: The View from Somewhere: A Critical Defense of Evolutionary Epistemology 247
STEVEN PINKER: How the Mind Works 275
RONALD DE SOUSA: Evolution, Th inking, and Rationality 289
ALVIN PLANTINGA: The Evolutionary Argument against Naturalism: An Initial Statement of the Argument 301
EVAN FALES: Darwin's Doubt, Calvin's Calvary 309

Part V. Ethics and Progress 323
EDWARD O. WILSON On Human Nature 333
PETER SINGER A Darwinian Left : Politics, Evolution, and Cooperation 343
LARRY ARNHART Darwinian Conservatism 349
MICHAEL RUSE AND EDWARD O. WILSON: Moral Philosophy as Applied Science 365
PHILIP KITCHER: Four Ways of "Biologicizing" Ethics 379
ROBERT J. RICHARDS: A Defense of Evolutionary Ethics 388

Part VI. The Evolution of Altruism 411

MARC HAUSER: The Liver and the Moral Organ 423
RICHARD JOYCE: Is Human Morality Innate? 452
ZACH ERNST: Game Theory in Evolutionary Biology 464
PETER SINGER: Ethics and Intuitions 476
MICHAEL RUSE: Evolution and Ethics: The Sociobiological Approach 489
CRAIG A. BOYD: Thomistic Natural Law and the Limits of Evolutionary Psychology 522
R. PAUL THOMPSON: An Evolutionary Account of Evil 533
GREGORY R. PETERSON: Falling Up: Evolution and Original Sin 539

Sources and Credits 549
Further Reading 553
Bibliography 561
Index 569

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