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ISBN 0-8126-9632-8
ISBN-13 978-0-8126-9632-5


263 pages


Commonsense Darwinism

Evolution, Morality, and the Human Condition

John Lemos

Darwin's idea is not as dangerous as some have trumpeted and others have feared. Darwinian evolution does not force us to give up objective morality. It does not require us to reject free will. It does not compel us to abandon the correspondence theory of truth. Darwinism, insists Professor Lemos, is no threat to reason, morality, God, human freedom, or—for that matter—the moral rectitude of eating meat.

Commonsense Darwinism surveys and responds to recent philosophical discussions of the implications of evolutionary biology. Lemos defends an objectivist account of ethics and criticizes Michael Ruse's nonobjectivist evolutionary ethics, while explaining his own differences with other writers who combine evolution and objective ethics. He expounds and criticizes James Rachels's argument that Darwinism implies vegetarianism, and examines Alvin Plantinga's attempt to show that if evolution is true, we cannot know anything. Lemos looks closely at various views on the issue of whether people are necessarily fundamentally selfish, and also argues that evolution is fully compatible with free will.

“Evolutionary biology has long driven debates about issues basic to our conception of ourselves. John Lemos enters the fray with a lively, wide-ranging discussion of fundamental questions: What is the significance of Darwinism for morality? For human capacities to acquire knowledge? Is Darwinism compatible with free will? With a belief in God? Lemos’s book is extraordinary both in its scope and in the range of literature it engages. It will interest not only fellow scholars but a much broader audience.”

—Evan Fales, author of Causation and Universals

Commonsense Darwinism is an excellent discussion of important philosophical issues arising from Darwinian evolutionary biology. The author writes knowledgeably about both the topics and the science. I recommend it to all interested in these issues.”

—Michael Ruse, author of Darwinism and Its Discontents

John Lemos is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Coe College. His articles have appeared in such scholarly journals as Metaphilosophy, Philosophia, Philosophy of the Social Sciences, and The Southern Journal of Philosophy.

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