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Download PDF by Peter Singer: A Darwinian Left: Politics, Evolution, and Cooperation

By Peter Singer

ISBN-10: 0300083238

ISBN-13: 9780300083231

In A Darwinian Left, Peter Singer argues that the political left has misunderstood Darwinian principles and therefore been opposed to the applying of Darwinian considering to politics. these at the political left who search a extra egalitarian society should still in its place include evolutionary principles and the best way to use evolutionary pondering so that it will construct the type of cooperative society sought.

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Extra resources for A Darwinian Left: Politics, Evolution, and Cooperation

Sample text

The ethical principle 'from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs' is from one of his last references to communist society and is still firmly in the Utopian tradition. 25 Marx wrote the earlier passage fifteen years before Darwin published The Origin of Species, so it was not surprising that he objected to Darwin reading 'the Malthusian "struggle for existence"' into nature. From the start, Marx and Engels recognised the opposition between their own views and the theory of population put forward by Thomas Malthus.

So the fact that nineteenth-century Darwinism was more congenial to the right than the left is due, at least in part, to the limitations of Darwinian thinking in that period. There was one great exception to the statement that the left accepted the 'nature red in tooth and claw' view of the struggle for existence. The geographer, naturalist and anarcho-communist Peter Kropotkin argued in his book Mutual Aid that Darwinists (though not always Darwin himself) had overlooked cooperation between animals of the same species as a factor in evolution.

Non-Marxist reformers often accept a tradition of malleability that stems from John Locke's idea of the mind as 'white Paper, void of all characters, without any Ideas'. From this it follows that education in the broadest possible sense is the great panacea, with the potential to mould 32 human beings into perfect citizens. Beliefs about the malleability or otherwise of human nature tend to vary along the left—right continuum. Yet they are beliefs about a matter of fact and should be open to revision in the light of the evidence.

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A Darwinian Left: Politics, Evolution, and Cooperation by Peter Singer


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