Natural law, biological knowledge, and the claims of evolutionary ethics
Ethics of Moral Absolutes
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This paper investigates the claim that developments in biological sciences require us to abandon the account of moral norms advanced by natural law theory and to embrace some version of evolutionary ethics. A brief sketch of a contemporary statement of evolutionary ethics is followed by a consideration of the two fundamental ways in which it opposes the natural law account. Both of these objections are shown to misfire: first, positing a sceptical position fails to attend to what is implicitly affirmed in the critique of ethical objectivity, and, second, the criticism of natural law’s account of marital sexual acts proceeds by way of misunderstanding. While the natural law account of moral norms is not undermined, evolutionary ethics itself is found to be untenable.
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