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Darwin as an Ethical Theorist

by Mark Anthony Signorelli (May 2011)


In these days of economic stagnation, it is good to know that there is at least one boom market out there yet – the market for books on evolutionary theories of ethics. The last decade or so has seen an absolute deluge of works pouring from the presses, purporting to locate the key to human ethical behavior in Darwin’s theory of natural selection.  In the academies, the evolutionary approach to human behavior has risen to something like an orthodoxy among a certain class of professor, according “Darwinism” now the same academic status that “Freudianism” and “Marxism” held in the ‘70’s and 80’s.  Prominent psychologist Jonathan Haidt exults in the fact that moral theory is enjoying a “renaissance…a golden age,” all thanks to the alleged insights on offer from the camp of evolutionary theory,[i] and in this matter, he certainly speaks for a very large contingency. more>>>