Taking Darwin Seriously: A Naturalistic Approach to Philosophy

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Prometheus Books, 1998 - Philosophy - 323 pages
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Table of Contents

Preface to the Second Edition
1 The Biological Background 1
The fact of evolution 1
The path of evolution 4
The theory of evolution: natural selection 16
The theory of evolution: modern genetics 18
Good science? 20
2 Evolutionary Epistemology 29
Evolution as analogy 31
Herbert Spencer and the law of progress 37
Stephen Toulmin’s Darwinian model 45
The analogy considered: the fact of evolution 46
The analogy considered: the path of evolution 49
The analogy considered: the cause of evolution 53
Donald Campbell’s Darwinian variations 58
Karl Popper and the revision of Darwinism 61
3 Evolutionary Ethics 67
Moral issues 68
Evolution and ethics 71
Herbert Spencer and the moral value of progress 73
Spencerian problems 75
William Graham Sumner and Social Darwinism 78
Thomas Henry Huxley and his stand against nature 82
Hume’s law and the naturalistic fallacy 86
Is the natural innately good? 90
Edward O. Wilson and the foundations of morality 93
The evolution of the moral sense 99
4 Human Evolution 103
The fact of human evolution 104
The path of human evolution 109
The cause of human evolution 115
The problem of culture 123
The biology of language 126
Ape language 134
Is culture independent of biology? 140
Epigenetic rules 143
5 Darwinian Epistemology 148
The nature of science 149
Scientific reasoning 155
The case for a biological backing 160
The case for (continued) 164
The case against 168
The rivals to science 174
Philosophical precursor: Kant? 178
Philosophical precursor: Hume? 182
Common-sense realism 184
Metaphysical scepticism 192
Konrad Lorenz and the biological a priori 196
The ultimate foundations 199
6 Darwinian Ethics 207
Substantive ethics 208
Meta-ethics 213
The evolution of morality 217
The empirical evidence: social animals 223
The empirical evidence: chimpanzees 227
The empirical evidence: humans 230
Substantive ethics reconsidered: utilitarianism 235
My family and other animals 238
To give and not to count the cost 242
Substantive ethics reconsidered: Kantianism 244
Moral disagreements 247
Darwinian meta-ethics 250
Objectifying morality 252
Stepping around Hume’s law 256
Freedom of choice 258
Possible precursor: Kant? 262
Possible precursor: Hume? 266
Looking forward 269
Darwin’s New Critics on Trial 280
References 298
Index 316

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Taking Darwin seriously: a naturalistic approach to philosophy

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Ruse begins by defending Darwin's theory of evolution and by criticizing past attempts to relate it to epistemology and ethics. He then embarks, by way of an account of the evolution of language, on ... Read full review


The Biological Background
Evolutionary Epistemology
Contents ix

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About the author (1998)

Michael Ruse (Tallahassee, FL) is the Lucyle T. Werkmeister Professor of Philosophy at Florida State University and the author or editor of The Stem Cell Controversy; Cloning: Responsible Science or Technomadness?; Taking Darwin Seriously; Philosophy of Biology; and But Is It Science?, among many other works.

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