A Darwinian Naturalist's Perspective on Altruism

Michael Ruse

in Altruism and Altruistic Love

Published in print April 2002 | ISBN: 9780195143584
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199848119 | DOI:
A Darwinian Naturalist's Perspective on Altruism

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Evolutionary ethics or “social Darwinism” is a powerful and wide-ranging doctrine or set of beliefs. In ethics and morality, it is useful to make a twofold distinction between “substantive” or “normative ethics” and “metaethics.” Darwin himself drew attention to the fact that more organisms are born than can possibly survive and reproduce and that this leads to what Darwin called a “struggle for existence.” Humans cooperate for biological ends, namely that they are “altruists” for their own biological ends.

Keywords: evolutionary ethics; social Darwinism; substantive; normative ethics; metaethics

Chapter.  9512 words. 

Subjects: Social Psychology

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