WHAT would happen if Richard Dawkins came face-to-face with Aristotle or David Hume or Immanuel Kant? In particular, what kind of conversation would they have about human nature or the meanings of words like ‘good’ and ‘evil’, ‘right’ and ‘wrong’? In their ignorance of Darwinian biology, would the dead philosophers have anything useful to say at all? This book is an imaginative attempt to answer such questions, testing old philosophy against new science and – more important – testing new science against old philosophy. Whether or not you’ve read Dawkins, and whether or not you regard yourself as a philosopher, you’ll be fascinated by the agreements and the disagreements between pre-Darwinian and post-Darwinian ways of understanding man and morality. Where they disagree about human psychology, which way is best? Must we assume, in the light of current biological knowledge, that the great thinkers of the past got it wrong? Or do we need to ask some sceptical questions, as Roger Fallon thinks, about the explanatory sufficiency of Dawkinsian science?
This potentially important book is
- a good introduction to Dawkins for those who haven’t read him, and a good refresher for those who have, especially vis-à-vis human nature
- a good introduction to moral philosophy for those who don’t have any knowledge of it, and an interesting perspective on the history of ethics for those who do
- a searching critique of Dawkins from a philosophical angle, identifying weaknesses, illogicalities, and many unanswered or even unformulated questions
The author hopes that you’ll find the book both interesting and enjoyable. If you do, please recommend it to others.