Biology and the Foundations of Ethics by Jane Maienschein, Michael Ruse

By Jane Maienschein, Michael Ruse

There was a lot recognition committed lately to the query of no matter if our ethical rules may be concerning our organic nature. This choice of new essays makes a speciality of the relationship among biology and foundational questions in ethics. The e-book asks such questions as even if people are innately egocentric, and even if there are specific features of human nature that undergo without delay on social practices. this can be the 1st publication to supply this old viewpoint at the relation of biology and ethics, and has been written by way of many of the best figures within the background and philosophy of technology, whose paintings stands a great deal on the innovative of those disciplines.

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In the NE VI 1 2- 1 3, Aristotle distinguishes cleverness from practical intelligence in a way that parallels the distinction between natural virtue and u n q u alified virtue. But he regularly ig no re s these distinctions in prac ti ce In both works, . animals are referre d to as practically intelligent, more or less understanding, thou ghtful courageous, temperate, a n d so on, without any qualifications or , reservations . This should not come as any surprise to contemporary readers - one sim­ p ly needs to ask, What option d i d he (or do we) have?

As David B al me explains (B alme 1 99 1 , pp. 30, 48-9, 56, note a) the modern num­ bering of the last four books of Historia Animalium is due to the Latin transla­ tion of Theodorus Gaza, who took book IX in the manuscripts and made it book VII (thus making books VII and VIII i n the manuscripts books VIII and IX i n his Lati n translation). In the Balme rendition of HA VII-X for the Loeb Classical Library, edited for publication after Balme's death by Allan Gotthelf, the manu­ script o rd er, which should have precedence for both historical and philosophical reasons, has been restored, with the Gaza numbers placed in parentheses.

In such a case, all would be worse off; the tamer animals would be at the mercy of the wild and would tend to perish. Some of them could be harnessed to do labor to increase the happiness of human beings, at a cost to them far less than they would incur should they be allowed to perish in the wild as a consequence of their labor not being expropriated by human beings. The benefits accruing to mankind would far outweigh the evil s imposed upon the beasts. So liberated, humans could care for the animals, and the numbers of the animals would increase (Hutcheson 1 968, vol.

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