Darwinism, Mind and Society

In Darwin and Catholicism: The Past and Present Dynamics of a Cultural Encounter. London: Continuum. pp. 134-150 (2009)
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This paper seeks to clarity the extent to which we can legitimately apply evolutionary explanation to the realm of moral and social behavior. It evaluates two perspectives, one dealing with purely philosophical arguments, and the other with arguments from within the Catholic tradition. The challenges faced by evolutionary ethics discernible from the secular perspective turn out to be practically the same as those discernible from the religious perspective. Whether we discuss the issues in terms of intentional states or in terms of freedom of human beings created in the image of God, the result seems to be the same: evolutionary explanation turns out to be useful to some extent but not across the board. It leaves out the distinctively moral aspect of individual and social behavior.
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