The Ethics of Evolution: The Crisis in Morals Occasioned by the Doctrine of Development

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Small Maynard, 1900 - Ethics, Evolutionary - 315 pages

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Page 226 - As among these, so among primitive men, the weakest and stupidest went to the wall, while the toughest and shrewdest, those who were best fitted to cope with their circumstances, but not the best in any other sense, survived. Life was a continual free fight, and beyond the limited and temporary relations of the family, the Hobbesian war of each against all was the normal state of existence.
Page 119 - The experiences of utility, organized and consolidated through all past generations of the human race, have been producing corresponding nervous modifications, which, by continued transmission and accumulation, have become in us certain faculties of moral intuition...
Page 237 - ... that under any circumstances sociability is the greatest advantage in the struggle for life. Those species which willingly or unwillingly abandon it are doomed to decay ; while those animals which know best how to combine have the greatest chances...
Page 57 - Moreover, just as we there saw that evolution becomes the highest possible when the conduct simultaneously achieves the greatest totality of life in self, in offspring, and in fellow men ; so here we see that the conduct called good rises to the conduct conceived as best, when it fulfils all three classes of ends at the same time.
Page 91 - Generally speaking, then, pleasures are the concomitants of medium activities, where the activities are of kinds liable to be in excess or in defect ; and where they are of kinds not liable to be excessive, pleasure increases as the activity increases, except where the activity is either constant or involuntary.
Page 29 - ... the absolutely right, in conduct, can be that only which produces pure pleasure — pleasure unalloyed with pain anywhere. By implication, conduct which has any concomitant of pain, or any painful consequence, is partially wrong...
Page 128 - Now that moral injunctions are losing the authority given by their supposed sacred origin, the secularization of morals is becoming imperative. Few things can happen more disastrous than the decay and death of a regulative system no longer fit, before another and fitter regulative system has grown up to replace it.
Page 139 - ... actions are completely right only when, besides being conducive to future happiness, special and general, they are immediately pleasurable, and that painfulness, not only ultimate but proximate, is the concomitant of actions which are wrong.
Page 25 - ... find him unable to name one: a fact proving that underneath all these intuitions respecting the goodness or badness of acts, there lies the fundamental assumption that acts are good or bad according as their aggregate effects increase men's happiness or increase their misery.
Page 137 - So I say with reference to the means "justice" and "injustice" in reference to the end "happiness." Injustice is in this case the better means, as it better secures the surplus of pleasure over pain, which is the supreme good. Nay, in your "Data of Ethics" (p. 95), you have said the same thing in as many words. "If the rules of right living are those of which the total results, individual and general, direct and indirect, are most conducive to human happiness; then it is absurd to ignore the immediate...

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