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Kierkegaard's Ethic of LoveDivine Commands and Moral Obligations$
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C. Stephen Evans

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780199272174

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2005

DOI: 10.1093/0199272174.001.0001

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Contemporary Meta‐Ethical Alternatives: Evolutionary Naturalism

Contemporary Meta‐Ethical Alternatives: Evolutionary Naturalism

(p.223) 10 Contemporary Meta‐Ethical Alternatives: Evolutionary Naturalism
Kierkegaard's Ethic of Love

C. Stephen Evans (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

Evolutionary naturalism is one possible ground for ethics that does not rely on divine commands. Larry Arnhart, in Darwinian Natural Right: The Biological Ethics of Human Nature, attempts to wed Darwinism to Aristotle in the hopes of demonstrating that contemporary biology provides a solid basis for understanding what is good and right for humans. Arnhart’s hopes falter, however, because he cannot maintain a particularistic ethic built on evolution and a universal ethic of obligation. The two cases of slavery and of female circumcision show the woeful inadequacies of an ethic that grounds moral obligation in biology. By contrast, the ethic of love based on a divine command is universal in its scope; neighbour-love extends across differences in race (in the case of slavery) and gender (in the case of female circumcision).

Keywords:   Darwinism, evolution, Kierkegaard, Larry Arnhart, meta-ethics, naturalism, universal, Works of Love

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