BIROn - Birkbeck Institutional Research Online

    Methods of ethics and the descent of man: Darwin and Sidgwick on ethics and evolution

    Lillehammer, Hallvard (2010) Methods of ethics and the descent of man: Darwin and Sidgwick on ethics and evolution. Biology & Philosophy 25 (3), pp. 361-378. ISSN 0169-3867.

    Full text not available from this repository.


    Darwin’s treatment of morality in The Descent of Man has generated a wide variety of responses among moral philosophers. Among these is the dismissal of evolution as irrelevant to ethics by Darwin’s contemporary Henry Sidgwick; the last, and arguably the greatest, of the Nineteenth Century British Utilitarians. This paper offers a re-examination of Sidgwick’s response to evolutionary considerations as irrelevant to ethics and the absence of any engagement with Darwin’s work in Sidgwick’s main ethical treatise, The Methods of Ethics. This assessment of Sidgwick’s response to Darwin’s work is shown to have significance for a number of ongoing controversies in contemporary metaethics.


    Item Type: Article
    Keyword(s) / Subject(s): Charles Darwin, Henry Sidgwick, Ethics, Evolution, Moral skepticism, Moral realism, Reflective equilibrium
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Historical Studies
    Depositing User: Administrator
    Date Deposited: 04 Apr 2014 11:27
    Last Modified: 02 Aug 2023 17:10


    Activity Overview
    6 month trend
    6 month trend

    Additional statistics are available via IRStats2.

    Archive Staff Only (login required)

    Edit/View Item Edit/View Item