© 1984

Darwin, Marx and Freud

Their Influence on Moral Theory

  • Arthur L. Caplan
  • Bruce Jennings

Part of the The Hastings Center Series in Ethics book series (HCSE)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xxvii
  2. Darwin

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 1-1
    2. Antony G. N. Flew
      Pages 3-33
    3. Ernst Mayr
      Pages 35-46
    4. Leon R. Kass
      Pages 47-69
  3. Marx

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 71-71
    2. Elizabeth Rapaport
      Pages 113-130
    3. Allen W. Wood
      Pages 131-144
  4. Freud

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 145-145
    2. Gerald N. Izenberg
      Pages 201-208
  5. Back Matter
    Pages 221-230

About this book


hope of obtaining a comprehensive and coherent understand­ ing of the human condition, we must somehow weave together the biological, sociological, and psychological components of human nature and experience. And this cannot be done­ indeed, it is difficult to even make sense of an attempt to do it-without first settling our accounts with Darwin, Marx, and Freud. The legacy of these three thinkers continues to haunt us in other ways as well. Whatever their substantive philosophical differences in other respects, Darwin, Marx, and Freud shared a common, overriding intellectual orientation: they taught us to see human things in historical, developmental terms. Phil­ osophically, questions of being were displaced in their works by questions of becoming. Methodologically, genesis replaced teleological and essentialist considerations in the explanatory logic of their theories. Darwin, Marx, and Freud were, above all, theorists of conflict, dynamism, and change. They em­ phasized the fragility of order, and their abiding concern was always to discover and to explicate the myriad ways in which order grows out of disorder. For these reasons their theories constantly confront and challenge the cardinal tenet of our modern secular faith: the notion of progress. To be sure, their emphasis on conflict and the flux of change within the flow of time was not unprecedented; its origins in Western thought can be traced back at least as far as Heraclitus.


Charles Darwin Darwin Marx Moral conflict development morality nature

Editors and affiliations

  • Arthur L. Caplan
    • 1
  • Bruce Jennings
    • 1
  1. 1.The Hastings Center, Ethics, and the Life SciencesInstitute of SocietyHastings-on-HudsonUSA

Bibliographic information