Chapter

Naturalistic Ethics without Fallacies

Kitcher Philip

in Preludes to Pragmatism

Published in print November 2012 | ISBN: 9780199899555
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780199980154 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199899555.003.0014
Naturalistic Ethics without Fallacies

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This chapter outlines the pragmatic naturalist treatment of ethics favored by the author. That treatment comes in three parts. First, it offers an analytical history of ethical practices—one that shows how the complex ethical life we now live could have evolved from the condition of our pre-ethical ancestors. Here, it elaborates Dewey's claim that “Moral conceptions and processes grow naturally out of the very conditions of human life.” Hominids and early humans had a capacity for psychological altruism that enabled them to live together in groups mixed by age and sex, but the limitations of that capacity made their social lives fragile and difficult. The ability to regulate conduct, according to agreed-on rules, offered an escape from a social dead-end, allowing for numerous “experiments of living”, out of which our contemporary ethical codes have emerged.

Keywords: naturalism; ethics; ethical practices; Dewey; moral conceptions; humans; conduct

Chapter.  10543 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy

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