Religious Studies | Religious Thought and Ethics: Evolution and Ethics
R672 | 25886 | Sideris, L.


This course examines the wide range of interpretations of
evolutionary theory for human ethics and conceptions of human
nature. Our exploration of this topic will take us from the
Victorian period, through the 20th century, and up to the present.
We will begin with Darwinís account of the evolution of ethics in
the Descent of Man as well as normative uses of Darwinís theory by
some of his own contemporaries (such as Huxley and Spencer). We will
also look at more recent uses of evolutionary theory found in
sociobiology and evolutionary psychology, including debates about
human selfishness and altruism, the impact, past and present, of
evolutionary theory on constructions of race and gender, as well as
current controversies over Neo-Darwinism as a materialist, atheistic
worldview. Writing assignments will include short response papers
and a long research paper on a topic of the studentís choosing.