A long-standing interest in how biological evolution and ethics relate to each other has focused on the relevance of evolutionism (and subsequent naturalism) to the existence and status of moral values and to the character of moral agency. Discussions regarding the relevance of biology to ethics date back to Aristotle, and when the concept of evolutionism first appeared, it was immediately taken to have important bearings on moral thinking (Maienschein and Ruse 1999). Yet, it was not until the end of the nineteenth century that the interest in these issues really bloomed. More recently, the explanatory and academic success of the “new” biological sciences, such as molecular genetics, ethology, neurobiology, and neuropsychology, opened up promising possibilities for a more profound comprehension of human behavior, including normatively guided agency. Moreover, current debates seem to show that only an integrated contribution of all these sciences can shed light on human agency. Thus, philosophers are now becoming increasingly interested in questions such as whether and how ethics relates to our biological nature, and whether and how aspects of human biology bear upon our social practices. Within these debates, increasingly pressing questions concern the relevance of recent developments in contemporary biological sciences in furthering our understanding of the relationship between evolutionism and ethics. The problem then arises of understanding how these issues can be correctly framed in philosophical terms. This collection of original essays offers a cutting-edge coverage of the topic and suggests some possible answers.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Arts and Humanities(all)