John Richardson

in Nietzsche's New Darwinism

Published in print October 2004 | ISBN: 9780195171037
Published online February 2006 | e-ISBN: 9780199786084 | DOI:

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This chapter focuses on Nietzsche's ethics and politics. It considers the particular genealogies Nietzsche gives for pity and altruism; his genealogies generally proceed through two stages: natural and social selection. Whether/how those social virtues get selected naturally and how they are then exapted by social selection are examined. This Nietzschean story is compared with the Social Darwinists' account of how morality evolves. These Darwinists hold that the development of these social virtues represents “progress”, and that it shows us the way to progress still further. Nietzsche vehemently rejects this claim about progress, and even seems to dispute whether the notion itself is coherent. It is argued that his critique of progress leaves untouched kinds of personal and social progress in which he still believes. Nietzsche's ethical and political revaluings are discussed.

Keywords: pity; altruism; Darwin; Darwinism; natural selection; social selection; virtues; progress

Chapter.  38871 words. 

Subjects: History of Western Philosophy

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