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Was Hitler a Darwinian?Disputed Questions in the History of Evolutionary Theory$
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Robert J. Richards

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780226058764

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2014

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226059099.001.0001

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Darwin’s Romantic Quest

Darwin’s Romantic Quest

Mind, Morals, and Emotions

(p.90) Chapter Four Darwin’s Romantic Quest
Was Hitler a Darwinian?

Robert J. Richards

University of Chicago Press

From the beginning of his theorizing, Darwin had human beings in mind. He sought to give an account of their, emotional repertoire, linguistic abilities, and high intelligence; he offered ingenious explanations of these traits. The chief human trait of moral capacity did not so easily yield to his analysis. A principle difficult was that natural selection might produce instinctive behaviors that provided benefit to those expressing them, but altruistic behaviors benefited others, not self. Darwin was able to explain the evolution of morality only after he solved a more fundamental problem that arose in the case of the social insects. His solution allowed him to understand how moral behavior might have arisen in proto-human clans. Darwin has provided an explanation of morality that can meet contemporary requirements for normative justification.

Keywords:   altruism, Darwin, Descent of Man, evolution of emotions, evolution of intelligence, evolution of language, evolutionary ethics, naturalistic fallacy

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