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Law and Evil

The Evolutionary Perspective

Wojciech Załuski

Law and Evil presents an alternative evolutionary picture of man, focusing on the origins and nature of human evil, and demonstrating its useful application in legal-philosophical analyses. Using this representation of human nature, Wojciech Załuski analyses the development of law, which he interprets as moving from evolutionary ethics to genuine ethics, as well as arguing in favour of metaethical realism and ius naturale.
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Epilogue: evil and metaphysics

Wojciech Załuski


The main conclusions of this book can be summarized as follows. There are two main reasons why evolutionary theory cannot be used as a basis of construction of a moral system. The first is that evolutionary ethics, that is, ethics expressive of our natural moral propensities, is morally ambivalent – far from being genuine ethics. As I have argued, human beings were endowed by natural selection with moral, neutral and immoral propensities (the first ambivalence of human nature), and the moral propensities (in their basic, that is, evolutionarily shaped form) are themselves ambivalent (the second ambivalence of human nature) – so, for example, human empathy (in its evolutionarily shaped form) is fragile and partial. The second is that evolutionary theory by itself does not provide any guidance for determining whether a given propensity is genuinely moral, ambivalently moral or immoral. The distinction between evolutionary and genuine ethics proved to be useful in two legal-philosophical contexts. It provided a framework for the analysis of progress in law (from the rules corresponding to evolutionary ethics to those corresponding to genuine ethics), and for the construction of an argument for metaethical realism and, indirectly, of an argument for ius-naturalism.

The conclusions regarding the nature of evil that are advanced in this book may appear somewhat disappointing. This is partly caused by the profundity of this problem, which probably cannot be fully tackled without going into deeper considerations than evolutionary theory can offer or any scientific theory allows – that is,...

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