Download Evolution and Ethics: Delivered in the Sheldonian Theatre, by Thomas Henry Huxley PDF

By Thomas Henry Huxley

In 1893, the biologist and educator Thomas Henry Huxley (1825-95) released the textual content of a public lecture on ethics and evolutionary conception. He opens Evolution and Ethics with the tale of Jack and the Bean Stalk as a metaphor for cyclical evolution-the small seed that turns into a mature plant. Huxley then takes the reader on a trip via culturally diversified trust structures Buddhism and Greek highbrow proposal - to demonstrate human makes an attempt to appreciate the 'cosmic process'. Huxley outlines the expansion of differing ideas of justice as populations grew to become extra organised, and the way varied societies handled the information that nature is unjust. Huxley abhors the cruel functions of Darwin's paintings to society and decries the 'gladiatorial thought of existence'. Arguing opposed to the idea that of social Darwinism, Huxley proposes that moral behaviour needs to counteract the painful results of the 'struggle for survival' to ensure that society to growth.

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Additional info for Evolution and Ethics: Delivered in the Sheldonian Theatre, May 18, 1893

Sample text

Surely it is mere cheap rhetoric to call arguments which have never yet been answered by even the meekest and the least rational of Optimists, suggestions of the pride of reason. As to the concluding aphorism, its fittest place would be as an inscription in letters of mud over the portal of some ' stye of Epicurus ' ( 14 ); for that is where the logical application of it to practice would land men, with every aspiration stifled and every effort paralyzed. Why try to set right what is right already ?

Note 2 (p. 4). <3 yap OVK'icniSis ififirjvaiTOauru " ; but, to be strictly accurate, the river remains, though the water of which it is composed changes—just as a man retains his identity though the whole substance of his body is constantly shifting. This is put very well by Seneca (Ep. lviii. 20, Ed. Ruhkopf). " Corpora nostra rapiuntur fluminum more, quidquid vides currit cum tempore ; nihil ex his quse videmus manet. Ego ipse dum loquor mutari ista, mutatus sum. ' Manet idem fluminis nomen, aqua transmissa est.

The origin of the theory of transmigration stated in the above extract is an unsolved problem. That it differs widely from the Egyptian metempsychosis is clear. In fact, since men usually people the NOTES 41 other world with phantoms of this, the Egyptian doctrine would seem to presuppose the Indian as a more archaic belief. Prof. Rhys Davids has fully insisted upon the ethical importance of the transmigration theory. " One of the latest speculations now being put forward among ourselves would seek to explain each man's character, and even his outward condition in life, by the character he inherited from his ancestors, a character gradually formed during a practically endless series of past existences, modified only by the conditions into which he was born, those very conditions being also, in like manner, the last result of a practically endless series of past cavises.

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