Charles darwin and modern moral philosophy

Ludus Vitalis 17 (1871):395-404 (2009)
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Charles Darwin can be regarded as one of the most prominent advocates of an evolutionary approach to ethics or moral philosophy in the nineteenth century and a forerunner of modern evolutionary ethics. Unlike many evolutionists of his days he consequently expanded the theory of evo- lution by natural selection to moral phenomena. He argued that such phenom- ena are deeply rooted in human nature and that humans are endowed with “social instincts.” Also, he maintained that with the aid of our intellect we can strengthen and refine our natural sympathy for others. Darwin believed in moral progress, defended the ideas of justice and solidarity and gave substan- tial support to an evolutionary humanism. His views on morality are still refreshing and deserve full attention of moral philosophers



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Franz Wuketits
University of Vienna

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