Journals Higher Education

$39.95

Paperback

28 October 1999

256 Pages

ISBN: 9780192861290


Bookseller Code (04)

Created from Animals

The Moral Implications of Darwinism

James Rachels

Western philosophy and religion, James Rachels argues, have been shaken by the implications of Darwin's work, most notably the controversial idea that humans are simply a more complex kind of animal. Here, Rachels assesses a number of studies that suggest how closely humans are linked to other primates in behavior, and then goes on to show how this idea undercuts the work of many prominent philosophers.
Created from Animals offers a provocative look at how Darwinian evolution undermines many tenets of traditional philosophy and religion. Rachels begins by examining Darwin's own life and work, presenting an astonishingly vivid and compressed biography. We see Darwin's studies of the psychological links in evolution (such as emotions in dogs, and the "mental powers" of worms), and how he addressed the moral implications of his work, especially in his concern for the welfare of animals. Rachels goes on to present a lively and accessible survey of the controversies that followed in Darwin's wake, ranging from Herbert Spencer's Social Darwinism to Edward O. Wilson's sociobiology, and discusses how the work of such influential intellects as Descartes, Hume, Kant, T.H. Huxley, Henri Bergson, B.F. Skinner, and Stephen Jay Gould has contributed to--or been overthrown by--evolutionary science.
With this sweeping survey of the arguments, the philosophers, and the deep implications surrounding Darwinism, Rachels lays the foundations for a new view of morality. Virbrantly written and provocatively argued, Created from Animals offers a new perspective on issues ranging from suicide to euthanasia to animal rights.

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