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EUGENICS, THE GIRARDIAN THEORY OF SACRIFICE, AND THE NEW DARWINIAN ETHICS

Keywords: Girardian theory of scapegoating , Neo-Darwinianism , Neo- Darwinian ethics , Naturalism in ethics , eugenics , G.E. Moore , John Searle , Rene Girard , P.T. Geach , Michel Foucault.

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Abstract:

In this paper I argue that, though many ethical systems recognizesacrifice as moral action, the utilitarian appropriation of Neo-Darwinian theory especially as it justifies eugenics as a “winnowing of the human stock” is in Girardian terms analogous to the sacrificial scapegoating of innocents. This argument is accomplished in four steps. (1) I show that within some ethical systems sacrifice is recognized as moral behavior driven by a specific axiology (or theory of value) (2) I discuss some of the meta-ethical problems connected with Neo-Darwinian naturalism and naturalism, in general. (3) I show how modern varieties of naturalism and Darwinian naturalism, inparticular are especially inclined to lead to a moral justification of eugenic scapegoating and how Girardian theory is helpful in identifying the moral disorder connected with eugenics. (4) Finally, I conclude by arguing that Darwin’s thought is susceptible to another kind of interpretation, one that need not lead to the valorization of eugenics.

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