European University Institute Library

Evolution and Ethics, Delivered in the Sheldonian Theatre, May 18, 1893, Thomas Henry Huxley

In 1893, the biologist and educator Thomas Henry Huxley (1825–95) published the text of a public lecture on ethics and evolutionary theory. He opens Evolution and Ethics with the story of Jack and the Bean Stalk as a metaphor for cyclical evolution—the small seed that becomes a mature plant. Huxley then takes the reader on a journey through two culturally different belief systems Buddhism and Greek intellectual thought — to illustrate human attempts to understand the 'cosmic process'. Huxley outlines the growth of differing concepts of justice as populations became more organised, and how different societies dealt with the knowledge that nature is unjust. Huxley abhors the harsh applications of Darwin's work to society and decries the 'gladiatorial theory of existence'. Arguing against the concept of social Darwinism, Huxley proposes that ethical behaviour must counteract the painful effects of the 'struggle for survival' in order for society to progress.--, Provided by publisher
Literary Form
non fiction
Physical Description
1 online resource (68 pages), digital, PDF file(s).
Specific Material Designation
Form Of Item

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    Via dei Roccettini 9, San Domenico di Fiesole, 50014, IT