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Nietzsche's New Darwinism$
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John Richardson

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780195171037

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2006

DOI: 10.1093/0195171039.001.0001

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(p.133) 3 Ethics-Politics
Nietzsche's New Darwinism

John Richardson (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter focuses on Nietzsche's ethics and politics. It considers the particular genealogies Nietzsche gives for pity and altruism; his genealogies generally proceed through two stages: natural and social selection. Whether/how those social virtues get selected naturally and how they are then exapted by social selection are examined. This Nietzschean story is compared with the Social Darwinists' account of how morality evolves. These Darwinists hold that the development of these social virtues represents “progress”, and that it shows us the way to progress still further. Nietzsche vehemently rejects this claim about progress, and even seems to dispute whether the notion itself is coherent. It is argued that his critique of progress leaves untouched kinds of personal and social progress in which he still believes. Nietzsche's ethical and political revaluings are discussed.

Keywords:   pity, altruism, Darwin, Darwinism, natural selection, social selection, virtues, progress

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