Cover image for Taking Darwin seriously : a naturalistic approach to philosophy
Taking Darwin seriously : a naturalistic approach to philosophy
Ruse, Michael.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Amherst, N.Y. : Prometheus Books, [1998]

Physical Description:
xix, 323 pages : illustrations ; 23 cm
General Note:
Originally published: New York, NY : Blackwell, 1986.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
QH360.5 .R878 1998 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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First published a decade ago, Michael Ruse's Taking Darwin Seriously established itself as one of the most important works on evolutionary naturalism since Darwin's own Origin of Species in 1859. Updated with a new preface and final chapter, this timely volume challenges the threadworn arguments as well as the new claims of creationism seeping into mainstream education, science, and philosophy, and reestablishes solid arguments supporting the science of Charles Darwin.

Applying evolutionary biology to traditional philosophical problems, this volume establishes a naturalistic approach to our understanding of life's major problems. Ruse argues thoughtfully that to understand the problems of knowledge (epistemology) and of moral thought and behavior (ethics), we must know that we are the end-products of the natural process of evolution rather than the special creation of a supernatural god. At the same time, he warns evolutionists who would fashion an atheistic secular religion from their science.

Written in an easy style to interest the professional and the general reader, this book is a pillar of philosophy intended as a direct challenge to all those who would push creationism as a credible alternative to scientific evolution in public schools, universities, and as a general theory of public consumption.

Author Notes

Michael Ruse (Tallahassee, FL) is the Lucyle T. Werkmeister Professor of Philosophy at Florida State University and the author or editor of The Stem Cell Controversy; Cloning: Responsible Science or Technomadness?; Taking Darwin Seriously; Philosophy of Biology; and But Is It Science?, among many other works.

Reviews 1

Publisher's Weekly Review

Canadian historian-philosopher Ruse (Darwinism Defended and The Darwinian Revolution was an expert witness for the ACLU in the 1981 Arkansas trial which cast out ``creation science'' from that state's public school curriculum. Here, in a densely argued book, he brings together traditional philosophy, notably David Hume's distinction between ``is'' and ``ought,'' and modern sociobiology in what philosophically concerned readers will find is a long overdue development of ``Darwinism'' as it stems from evolutionary theory with an emphasis on natural selection. Ruse examines the biology of the evolutionary process that led to homo sapiens, taking him directly into evolutionary epistemology and, most importantly, a searching inquiry into an evolutionary ethics which, he shows, has grown out of our culture as both language and culture are roooted in biology and a ``subjectivistic'' human nature. Significantly, while Ruse's ideas are not new, his trenchant exploration of a Darwinian ethics that gives a new meaning to natural selection will have to be taken seriously by students of the subject. Photos. (June 3) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved