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Evolutionary Ethics and Contemporary Biology

Series: Cambridge Studies in Philosophy and Biology

Edited By: Giovanni Boniolo and Gabriele De Anna

207 pages, no illustrations

Cambridge University Press

Hardback | Sep 2006 | #161607 | ISBN: 0521856299
Availability: Usually dispatched within 6 days Details
NHBS Price: £66.99 $87/€76 approx

About this book

How can the discoveries made in the biological sciences play a role in a discussion on the foundation of ethics? This book responds to this question by examining how evolutionism can explain and justify the existence of ethical normativity and the emergence of particular moral systems. Written by a team of philosophers and scientists, the essays collected in this volume deal with the limits of evolutionary explanations, the justifications of ethics, and methodological issues concerning evolutionary accounts of ethics, among other topics. They offer deep insights into the origin and purpose of human moral capacities and of moral systems.

Review of the hardback: 'I recommend this volume to philosophers and scientists interested in evolutionary ethics and its relationships to contemporary biology. It succeeds in presenting a wide range of plausible evolutionarily and biologically based explanations of aspects of morality and, in the cases of Kitcher and Rosenberg, two very promising complementary accounts of its origins.' History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences Review of the hardback: 'Evolutionary Ethics and Contemporary Biology is a welcome contribution that raises pressing questions and offers insightful responses that scientists and philosophers alike would do well to grapple with.' The Journal of Value Inquiry


Introduction Giovanni Boniolo and Gabriele De Anna; Part I. The Limits of Evolutionary Explanations and Justifications of Ethics: 1. Is Darwinian metaethics possible (and if it is, is it well taken)? Michael Ruse; 2. The descent of instinct and the ascent of ethics Giovanni Boniolo; Part II. Methodological Issues Concerning Evolutionary Accounts of Ethics: 3. Are human beings parts of the rest of nature? Christopher Lang, Elliot Sober and Karen Strier; 4. The nature of resemblance, homologies in the nervous system, and behavior correspondence Aldo Fasolo; Part II. How Biological Results Can Help Explaining Morally Relevant Human Capacities: 5. Genetic influences on moral capacity, what genetic mutants can teach us Giovanni Boniolo and Paolo Vezzoni; 6. Evolutionary pharmacology, mental disorders, and ethical behavior Stefano Canali, Gabriele De Anna and Luca Pani; 7. The biology of human culture and ethics: an evolutionary perspective Stefano Parmigiani, Gabriele De Anna, Danilo Mainardi and Paola Palanza; Part III. How Biological Results Can Help Explain Moral Systems: 8. Biology to ethics: an evolutionist's view of human nature Francisco Ayala; 9. Between fragile altruism and morality: human evolution and the emergence of normative guidance Philip Kitcher; 10. Will genomics do more for metaphysics than Locke? Alex Rosenberg.

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Giovanni Boniolo is Full Professor of Logic and Philosophy of Science at the University of Padua. He is the author of many articles and books, including Metode e rappresentaazioni del mondo. Per un'altra Filosofia della scienze and, with P. Viali, Filosofia della scienza and Strumenti per ragionare. Gabriele de Anna is Lecturer in Philosophy at the University of Udine. She is the author of Realismo metafisico e rappresentazione mentale and Il pensiero filosofico e politico de Sebastiana De Apollonia.

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