Darwinian Natural Right: The Biological Ethics of Human Nature

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SUNY Press, Apr 2, 1998 - Science - 332 pages
This book shows how Darwinian biology supports an Aristotelian view of ethics as rooted in human nature. Defending a conception of Darwinian natural right based on the claim that the good is the desirable, the author argues that there are at least twenty natural desires that are universal to all human societies because they are based in human biology. The satisfaction of these natural desires constitutes a universal standard for judging social practice as either fulfilling or frustrating human nature, although prudence is required in judging what is best for particular circumstances.

The author studies the familial bonding of parents and children and the conjugal bonding of men and women as illustrating social behavior that conforms to Darwinian natural right. He also studies slavery and psychopathy as illustrating social behavior that contradicts Darwinian natural right. He argues as well that the natural moral sense does not require religious belief, although such belief can sometimes reinforce the dictates of nature.
 

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Contents

DESIRE AND REASON
17
POLITICAL ANIMALS
51
THE HUMAN NATURE OF MORALITY AND FREEDOM
69
PARENT AND CHILD
89
MAN AND WOMAN
123
MASTER AND SLAVE
161
THE POVERTY OF PSYCHOPATHIC DESIRE
211
THE ENDS AND KINDS OF LIFE
231
NATURE AND NATURES GOD
249
References
277
Index
321
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About the author (1998)

"This beautiful little book rediscovers the missing biology of Aristotle especially as it applies to moral phisophy and does so in a thoroughly modern way, that is, by integrating it with modern Darwinian thinking, a subject Arnhart easily masters. The result is a very impressive piece of intellectual work, rich in detail and far-reaching in scope and in conclusions." Robert Trivers, Rutgers University

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