Article ID: CBB001201354

Morality and Nature: Evolutionary Challenges to Christian Ethics (2014)

unapi

Keywords: anthropology;Thomas Aquinas;Christianity;emotions;evolutionary biology;morality;personhood Abstract Christian ethics accentuates in manifold ways the unique character of human nature. Personalists believe that the mind is never reducible to material and physical substance. The human person is presented as the supreme principle, based on arguments referring to free-willed actions, the immateriality of both the divine spirit and the reflexive capacity, intersubjectivity and self-consciousness. But since Darwin, evolutionary biology slowly instructs us that morality roots in dispositions that are programmed by evolution into our nature. Historically, Thomas Huxley, Darwin's bulldog, agreed with Darwin on almost everything, except for his gradualist position on moral behavior. Huxley's saltationism has recently been characterized by Frans de Waal as a veneer theory of morality. Does this mark the end of a period of presenting morality as only the fruit of socialization processes (nurture) and as having nothing in common with nature? Does it necessarily imply a corrosion of personalist views on the human being or do Christian ethics have to become familiar again with their ancient roots?

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Authors & Contributors
England, Richard K.
Huxley, Thomas Henry
Schoepflin, Rennie B.
Umansky, Ellen M.
Allhoff, Fritz
Sydow, Momme von
Journals
Journal of the History of Ideas
History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences
Annals of the History and Philosophy of Biology
Archives of Natural History
Zygon
Centaurus: International Magazine of the History of Mathematics, Science, and Technology
Publishers
Thoemmes
University of Chicago Press
Johns Hopkins University Press
Oxford University Press
Harvard University Press
Lexington Books
Concepts
Science and religion
Science and ethics
Evolution
Christianity
Moral philosophy
Science and literature
People
Darwin, Charles Robert
Huxley, Thomas Henry
Gray, Asa
Spencer, Herbert
Smith, Adam
Hume, David
Places
Great Britain
United States
England
Times
19th century
20th century
21st century
20th century, early
Institutions
Royal Commission on Vivisection (1875)
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