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 188 - Thus far shalt thou go, and no farther ; and here shall thy proud waves be stayed.
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 24 - Ethics has for its subject-matter, that form which universal conduct assumes during the last stages of its evolution. We have also concluded that these last stages in the evolution of conduct are those displayed by the highest type of being, when he is forced, by increase of numbers, to live more and more in presence of his fellows.
Page 69 - The imagination, which is altogether constructive, probably contributes more to our happiness than the reason, which in the sphere of speculation is mainly critical and destructive. The rude charm which in the hour of danger or distress the savage clasps so confidently to his breast, the sacred picture which is believed to shed a hallowing and protecting influence over the poor man's cottage, can bestow a more real consolation in the darkest hour of human suffering than can be afforded by the grandest...
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 18 - ... religion, and other forms of brute force are concerned, settles the question. But philosophy will see in this contest of antagonistic forces, a mere play of opposing elements, in which larceny is an incident of social weakness and unfitness to survive, just as debility and leprosy are; and would as soon assume a divine command, " Thou shalt not break out in boils and sores " to the weakling or leper, as one of, "Thou shalt not steal" to the failing struggler for subsistence.
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 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.

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