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Bioevolutionary Ethics: A New Paradigm for Public Policy Making

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Type: Journal Article
Author: Murphy, Donald W.
Journal: Duke Environmental Law & Policy Forum
Volume: 14
Date: 2004
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/3474
Sector: Social Organization
General & Multiple Resources
Subject(s): public policy
environmental ethics
social behavior
Abstract: "The thesis I propose here is simple. Morality and ethics should serve as the basis for public policy; and biological processes lead to the formation of what E. O. Wilson calls our 'moral sensibilities.' In other words, our notion of right and wrong naturally proceed from our biological evolution. Anything with which a consequence is associated also has an ethical component. This is most easily seen in three superordinate reference points that guide human behavior: (1) concern for individual survival; (2) concern for the survival of the entire culture; and (3) abstract or transcendent concerns that enhance the quality of life. We now understand that our individual survival, the survival of the culture as a whole, and our transcendent concerns are all inextricably bound to the survival of our planet from which we evolved or, more completely, the universe from which we evolved."

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