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Scientific Values and Civic Virtues$
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Noretta Koertge

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780195172256

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: July 2005

DOI: 10.1093/0195172256.001.0001

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The Evolutionary Ethics of Alfred C. Kinsey

The Evolutionary Ethics of Alfred C. Kinsey

(p.135) 9 The Evolutionary Ethics of Alfred C. Kinsey
Scientific Values and Civic Virtues

Frederick B. Churchill

Oxford University Press

As a student of William Morton Wheeler, Kinsey made his first contributions to biology, and adapted the taxonomic methods he had used in research on gall wasps to the study of human sexuality. The research for which he is famous was fueled not just by scientific curiosity, but also by a conviction that a scientific understanding of the varieties of sexual behavior should have an impact on the value judgments society makes about sexuality. He was less successful in this enterprise, in part because he may not have understood the logical and philosophical difficulties, such as those involving the naturalistic fallacy and the argument de animalibus, that beset any attempt to devise an evolutionary ethics.

Keywords:   naturalistic fallacy, argument de animalibus, pederasty, William Morton Wheeler, evolutionary ethics, gall wasp, human sexuality, Kinsey, taxonomic methods

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