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date: 22 November 2019

Abstract and Keywords

With the coming of evolutionary speculations in the middle of the nineteenth century, there was much interest in the possible implications of these ideas for ethical thinking and action. Two basic approaches can be discerned, that of Herbert Spencer who saw ongoing progress in life’s history and used this to promote and justify proper conduct and that of Charles Darwin who used his theory of evolution through natural selection to explain moral thought and behavior. Both approaches found supporters and critics, and there has been much subsequent confusion through mistaken conflations of these very different forms of evolutionary ethics.

Keywords: Evolution, natural selection, Charles Darwin, Herbert Spencer, Social Darwinism, Henry Sidgwick, Thomas Henry Huxley, group selection

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