The Ethical Import of Darwinism

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Scribner, 1887 - 264 páginas
"The object of the present volume is to distinguish between science and speculation in the application of Darwinism to morals. The results of evolutionary science in the domain of matter and in the domain of life are everywhere taken for granted; the philosophical and, more especially, the ethical theories currently associated with them are subjected to the most searching scrutiny I have been able to make. As it has been pretended that the doctrine of evolution invests ethics with a new scientific character, I first examine the various methods of ethics and attempt to determine under what conditions alone ethics can become a science"--Preface. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2010 APA, all rights reserved).
 

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Página 207 - Hail, wedded Love, mysterious law, true source Of human offspring ; sole propriety In Paradise of all things common else ! By thee adulterous Lust was driven from men Among the bestial herds to range : by thee Founded in reason, loyal, just, and pure, Relations dear, and all the charities Of father, son, and brother, first were known.
Página 89 - I may be allowed to personify the natural preservation or survival of the fittest, cares nothing for appearances, except in so far as they are useful to any being. She can act on every internal organ, on every shade of constitutional difference, on the whole machinery of life. Man selects only for his own good : Nature only for that of the being which she tends.
Página 20 - I conceive it to be the business of Moral Science to deduce, from the laws of life and the conditions of existence, what kinds of action necessarily tend to produce happiness, and what kinds to produce unhappiness. Having done this, its deductions are to be recognized as laws of conduct ; and are to be conformed to irrespective of a direct estimation of happiness or misery.
Página 117 - ... any being, if it vary however slightly in any manner profitable to itself, under the complex and sometimes varying conditions of life, will have a better chance of surviving, and thus be naturally selected. From the strong principle of inheritance, any selected variety will tend to propagate its new and modified form.
Página 10 - I suppose, if duly considered and pursued, afford such foundations of our duty and rules of action as might place morality amongst the sciences capable of demonstration: wherein I doubt not but from self-evident propositions, by necessary consequences as incontestable as those in mathematics, the measures of right and wrong might be made out to anyone that will apply himself with the same indifferency and attention to the one as he does to the other of these sciences.
Página 55 - ... that which enables the agriculturist not only to modify the character of his flock, but to change it altogether. It is the magician's wand, by means of which he may summon into life whatever form and mould he pleases.
Página 82 - It is quite conceivable that every species tends to produce varieties of a limited number and kind, and that the effect of natural selection is to favour the development of some of these, while it opposes the development of others along their predetermined lines of modification.
Página 60 - There is no exception to the rule that every organic being naturally increases at so high a rate, that, if not destroyed, the earth would soon be covered by the progeny of a single pair. Even slow-breeding man has doubled in twenty-five years, and at this rate, in less than a thousand years, there would literally not be standing-room for his progeny.
Página 70 - But, for all this, our acceptance of the Darwinian hypothesis must be provisional so long as one link in the chain of evidence is wanting ; and so long as all the animals and plants certainly produced by selective breeding from a common stock are fertile, and their progeny are fertile with one an&ther, that link will be wanting.

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