Survival is the Ultimate End


According to the neo-Aristotelian moral tradition, every living thing has an ultimate end: To flourish as a member of its species. This view of the ultimate end shapes inquiry into what is the ultimate end of human living things. In this paper, I develop an alternative view of the ultimate end of a living thing: The ultimate end is only to survive, not as a member of a species, but as a living thing. There are four steps to my development. First, I criticize the prevailing species-based view of the ultimate end. Second, I argue that other-regarding behavior is not normative for living things; only survival is. Third, I elucidate a new and what I take to be correcting understanding of survival. Fourth, I programmatically develop the idea that inquiry into human well-being and into morality (for human beings) should be understood as aspects of inquiry into human survival.


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