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The Ethical Primate : Humans, Freedom and Morality - Mary Midgley

The Ethical Primate

Humans, Freedom and Morality

Hardcover Published: 9th November 1994
ISBN: 9780415095303
Number Of Pages: 203
For Ages: 18 years old

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In "The Ethical Primate, " renowned philosopher Mary Midgley tackles important questions about human freedom and morality. Scientists and philosophers have found it difficult to understand how each human being can be both a living part of the natural world and, at the same time, a genuinely free agent. Midgley explores their responses to this seeming paradox and argues that our evolutionary origin, properly understood, explains why human freedom and morality have come about.
Midgley shows that the unrealistic isolation of mind from body in reductive scientific ideologies still causes us confusion. Such ideologies posit a separate human will which exists outside the natural world. But such a crude picture ignores the manifest importance of the higher human faculties and fails to provide room for any realistic notion of the self.
Midgley attempts to make it easier for us to acknowledge an evolutionary origin for our higher faculties. She argues that human morality necessarily arises out of human freedom: we are uniquely free beings in that we are aware of our conflicting motives; those conflicts and our abilities to resolve them are part of our natural inheritance. Though our selves are in many ways divided, we share the difficult project of wholeness with other organisms. "The Ethical Primate" raises basic and profound questions about what it means to be human and proposes some provocative new answers.

Industry Reviews

..."arduous and instructive...." -"Ethics & Medicine, 1998 "Clearly and gracefully written, it should prove very interesting and accessible to a wide audience.." -"Choice "Although her account hardly answers all the perplexities concerning relations of mind to body or how we can act freely, her honest and informed probing provides a highly sensible perspective. As a brief work not attempting to survey the literature (it has no bibliography), but it does exhibit knowledge of a fair range of relevant biological and philosophical literature. Clearly and gracefully written, it should prover very interesting and accessible to a wide audience. Undergraduate through professional "Choice, April, 1995." ""The Ethical Primate raises basic and profound questions about what it means to be human and proposes some provocative answers." -"Bulletin of Science, Technology and Society "The book is especially good incriticizing egoistic explanations of morality...blends philosophy and science in a conversational, rather than technical or rigorous, style." - "Ethics

Inner Divisions
Misguided Debates
The Reductive Enterprise
Guiding Visions
Hopes of Simplicity
Crusades, Legitimate and Otherwise
Convergent Explanations and their Uses
Troubles of the Linear Pattern
Fatalism and Predictability
The Sources and Meaning of Morals
Agency and Ethics
Modern Myths
The Strength of Individualism
The Retreat from the Natural World
How Far does Sociability Take Us?
The Uses of Sympathy Part IV - What Kind of Freedom?
On Being Terrestrial
What Beings are Free
Minds Resist Streamlining
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780415095303
ISBN-10: 0415095301
Audience: Tertiary; University or College
For Ages: 18 years old
Format: Hardcover
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 203
Published: 9th November 1994
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 24.08 x 16.03  x 1.78
Weight (kg): 0.53
Edition Number: 1

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