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Social Sciences - Political Science | Darwinian Science and Classical Liberalism - Biological and Political Theories in Tension?

Darwinian Science and Classical Liberalism

Biological and Political Theories in Tension?

Dilley, Stephen C. (Ed.)

2013, XVI, 340p.


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  • About this book

  • Gives up-to-date discussions of the central features of the relationship between Darwinian science & classical liberalism by some of the very best scholars in the field  
  • Engages the views of a wide range of thinkers, both classical and contemporary - from John Locke and Adam Smith to F.A. Hayek and Thomas Sowell   
  • Includes diverse perspectives and a spirited debate about the relationship between Darwinism and classical liberalism​
This volume explores the relationship between Darwinian science and classical liberalism, past and present. The volume begins with chapters examining classical thinkers like John Locke, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, and Adam Smith. Later chapters provide analyses of present-day classical liberals, focusing especially on F.A. Hayek, Thomas Sowell, and Larry Arnhart, the most prominent advocates of 'contemporary' classical liberalism. Thematically, the volume falls into three parts. The first section examines foundational topics, arguing that Darwinism and classical liberalism hold incompatible visions of morality, human volition, individual autonomy, and the origin of order in economics and biology. The second section turns to contemporary applications, contending that Darwinism and classical liberalism are at odds in their views of (or implications about) limited government, vital religion, economic freedom, and the traditional family. This section also argues that, historically, Darwinian theory negatively impacted classical liberalism and Western civilization. The final section of the volume contains alternative perspectives to the views expressed in the first two sections. These chapters hold that Darwinian science simply has little to say about classical liberalism, an evolutionary account of human consciousness and volition is fully compatible with the individual choice presupposed in classical liberalism, and evolutionary science, unlike religious alternatives, provides a strong foundation for freedom, morality, and the traditional family.

Content Level » Research

Keywords » Jean-Jacques Rousseau - classical liberalism - darwinian conservatism - darwinian science - evolutionary biology - political philosophy

Related subjects » Applied Ethics & Social Responsibility - Epistemology & Philosophy of Science - Political Science

Table of contents 

Ch. 1: Evolutionary Biology and Classical Liberalism: An Introduction to the Volume Stephen C. Dilley.- Part 1: Foundations Morality and Mind, Human Nature and Nature’s Order.- Ch. 2: Is Darwinism Compatible with Classical Liberalism’s View of Morality? Benjamin Wiker.- Ch. 3: Locke, Darwin, and America’s Future Peter Augustine Lawler.- Ch. 4: On Invisible Hands and Intelligent Design: Must Classical Liberals also Embrace Darwinian Theory? Jay Richards.- Ch. 5: Darwinian Conservatism and Free Will Angus Menuge.- Part 2: Applications God and Country, Family and Legacy.- Ch. 6: Darwinism, Economic Liberty, and Limited Government John West.- Ch. 7: Darwin Knows Best: Can Evolution Support the Classical Liberal Vision of the Family? Logan Paul Gage.- Ch. 8: Losing Our Religion: Darwinism, Secularism, and the Decline of the West Bruce Gordon.- Ch. 9: A History of the Impact of Darwinism on Natural Rights and Bioethics Richard Weikart.- Part 3: Alternative Perspectives.- Ch.10: On the Relationship between Liberalism and Darwinism Roger Masters.- Ch.11: Volitional Consciousness and Evolution: At the Foundations of Classical Liberalism Shawn Klein.- Ch.12: Evolution and Classical Liberalism Timothy Sandefur.- Ch.13: An Historical Afterward Michael J. White.

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