Ethics for Organisms: Introduction

The best lack all conviction, While the worst

Are full of passionate intensity.

Yeats

 

The primary aim of this little book is to change the situation described by Yeats.

It is to convince you that there is an objective morality that tells us to save lives and minimize injury, provided we can do so safely, and to treat others as our equals and not to use them.  It is to persuade you that what you need to do to ensure that you act morally is to investigate the facts as thoroughly as possible.

It is to persuade you that we can know that we ought to do these things.

This book is called Ethics for Organisms because it embraces the fact that we are products of evolution by variation and natural selection.  It is not just that ethics is compatible with evolution but also that we need evolution to understand our nature as ethical organisms.  Thus, this book is primarily for people who have a scientific attitude.   It is based on my more scholarly book Evolutionary Intuitionism but makes new points and covers new ground as well.  The theory will be called evolutionary intuitionism here as well.

The aim is not to tell you what to do but to enable you to discover by yourself what you ought to do.  Even if you follow someone else’s advice and recommendations, you are responsible for making the decision to do so.  So, you might as well make your own decisions in the first place.

 

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