Article/Publication Details

Utilitarian Impartiality and Contemporary Darwinism

(Original title: Utilitarian Impartiality and Contemporary Darwinism)
Filozofia, 2007, vol. 62, No 1, pp. 14-25.
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Abstract

One important component of utilitarian ethical framework is a specific version of the principle of impartiality. The principle claims that one should bring about the greatest possible overall utility or happiness and that our moral and morally relevant actions ought to result from objective and neutral deliberations, with all our personal interests, likes and dislikes left out. Drawing on relevant insights from sociobiology and evolutionary psychology this paper seeks to show that utilitarian principle of impartiality is seriously endangered by two interconnected Darwinian facts: (1) the fact that human biologically shaped psychology and motivation mechanisms do not fit well with the principle requiring the indiscriminate promotion of general happiness, and (2) the fact that human beings are individuals with naturally evolved personal desires, projects and ideals, and not merely spare parts of some general utilitarian clockwork of happiness.

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