The Temptation of Evolutionary Ethics

by Paul Lawrence Farber
Berkeley: University of California Press, 1998. 224 pages.

In The Temptation of Evolutionary Ethics, Farber details the history of three flurries of excitement about evolutionary ethics. The first appeared in the aftermath of the publication of The Origin of Species; the second emerged from the cultural chaos following World War I, and the third arrived with the development of sociobiology in the late 20th century. Pessimistic about the prospects for evolutionary ethics, Farber contends that its practitioners are likely to repeat the same philosophical mistakes time after time. The author is Distinguished Professor of History of Science at Oregon State University.