A Companion to Ethics by Peter Singer

By Peter Singer

During this quantity, a few of brand new such a lot wonderful philosophers survey the total box of ethics, from its origins, throughout the nice moral traditions, to theories of the way we should dwell, arguments approximately particular moral concerns, and the character of ethics itself. The publication will be learn immediately via from commencing to finish; but the inclusion of a multi-layered index, coupled with a descriptive define of contents and bibliographies of correct literature, signifies that the amount additionally serves as a piece of reference, either for these coming afresh to the research of ethics and for readers already conversant in the topic.

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Then we can look at what we now know about the social lives of other animals, especially other mammals, and by this means find clues to the origins of human ethics. 3 2 Ethics in Small-Scale Societies George Silberbauer Early human beings lived in small nomadic groups. Examining the ethical systems of contemporary small-scale societies, such as the Bushmen of the Kalahari Desert, helps us to grasp the elements of ethical systems suited for societies that live in this manner. Anthropological accounts can help us to understand why and to what extent some ethical values and principles are universal, or nearly so, among human beings, while others are subject to wide variation.

476 Part VII: Challenge and Critique Subjectivism and relativism, discussed in Part VI, deny that ethics has any objective or universal validity; but these are not the only challenges that defenders of ethics have had to meet. There have been other attempts, based on specific philosophical positions, to show that morality is merely the instrument of the dominant group in society, or is all an illusion, or is meaningless in the absence of religion. The articles in this Part take up some of these challenges.

It is particularly remote from current science on two issues: first, its fantasy-ridden, over-dramatized notion of competition, and second, the strangely predominant place that it gives to our own species in the evolutionary process. (1) It is essential to distinguish the mere fact of happening to 'compete' from the complex of human motives which current ideology endorses as fitting for competitors. Any two organisms may be said to be 'in competition' if they both need or want something they cannot both get.

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