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By: Paul Lawrence Farber
210 pages, no illustrations
Evolutionary theory tells us about our biological past; can it also guide us to a moral future? Paul Farber's compelling book describes a century-old philosophical hope held by many biologists, anthropologists, pyschologists, and social thinkers: that universal ethical and social imperatives are built into human nature and can be discovered through knowledge of evolutionary theory. Farber describes three upsurges of enthusiasm for evolutionary ethics. The first came in the early years of mid-nineteenth century evolutionary theories; the second in the 1920s and 1930s; and the third arrived in the 1970s with the birth of sociobiology and the publications of Richard Dawkins and E.O. Wilson. Farber considers the devastating responses, many long forgotten today, made by philosophers at the time and concludes that the history of evolutionary ethics is essentially one of oft-repeated philosophical mistakes.
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