1 Introduction.- 2 A Revolutionary Age.- The Industrial Revolution.- The Technological Revolution.- The Democratic Revolution.- The Environmental Revolution.- The Protestant Revolution.- The Rational Revolution.- 3 What's Gone Wrong?.- A: Introduction.- B: Waste.- Water and Soil.- Energy.- Minerals.- Food.- Forest Products.- Manufactured Products.- Armaments.- Waste Disposal: Industrial Waste.- Economic Consequences of Waste.- C: Misguidance in the Marketplace.- Characteristics of Advertising.- Costs of Advertising.- Misguidance at the Retail Level.- Consequences of Misguidance.- D: Debt Encouraged.- International Debt.- Debt within the United States.- The Encouragement of Debt.- How Our Growing Burden of Debts Has Been Financed.- Social and Economic Problems Created by Consumer Debt.- E: Unneeded Wealth Misused.- Some Data Concerning Income in the United States.- The Effect of Taxes.- Legitimate Uses of Unneeded Income.- Philanthropy.- Wealth Misused.- Consequences of Wealth Misused.- F: Security Sought Through Power or Privilege.- Security Sought Through Power.- Security Sought Through Privilege.- Consequences of Security Sought Through Power or Privilege.- G: Dishonesty Condoned.- H: Major Crime Unpunished.- The Mafia: History and Organization.- The Mafia in Sicily.- Crimes with Big Return, Little Risk, and Murder in the Background.- The Penetration of Labor Unions.- The Penetration of Legitimate Business.- The Corruption of Public Officials.- Why the Mafia Still Thrives.- I: Conclusions.- Complexity of Economic Causation.- The Moral Component.- Our Seven Wrongs.- An Economy in Trouble.- Planning Ahead.- 4 The Biological Background of Social Behavior: Genetic Factors.- The Immensity and Diversity of the Mammalian Genome.- Variability in Human Chromosomes.- The Variability of the Mammalian Genome.- Detecting the Effects of Heredity and Environment.- Behavior Studies with Inbred Mice.- Some Observations Suggesting Genetically Determined Behavioral Variability in Chimpanzees.- The Brain and Behavior.- Twins.- Crime and Personality.- Evidence for a Genetic Component in Criminal Behavior.- Studies of the Prosocial Sentiments.- Summary and Conclusions.- The Biological Background of Social Behavior: Evolutionary Factors.- Social Characteristics of Man's Near Relatives.- The Bones of Our Ancestors.- Hunting-Gathering Societies.- What Archaelogy Can Tell Us About Human Social Behavior.- The Evolutionary Sources of Aggressiveness and Cooperativeness.- Aggressive and Cooperative Behavior as Seen in a Few of the Social Mammals.- What Animal Studies Tell Us About Man's Social Nature.- Warfare in Primitive Human Societies.- The Driving Forces in Human Evolution.- The Evolution of Man's Moral Nature.- Conclusion.- What Is Ethics?.- Some Definitions.- Moral Law: The Cultural Component in the Determination of Our Prosocial Behavior.- Moral Law Is Relative or Conditional, Not Absolute.- Value and Value Systems.- The Happiness System.- The Want Value System.- The Survival Value System.- The General Welfare.- The Approval and Disapproval Value System.- Money.- The Will of God.- Self-Realization.- Rational Ethics.- Selecting a Philosophical Basis for a Rational Ethic.- 7 The Rules We Live By.- The Code of Family.- The Code of Amity.- The Code of Equity or Justice.- The Code of Enmity.- The Code of Commonwealth.- Are There Other Moral Codes?.- Ethics and the Survival of Democracy.- 8 Looking to the Future.- The Need for a More Ethical Society.- The Ethical Potential of Our Species.- Men and Women of Goodwill.- An Era of Renewal.- Getting Ethics Applied.- Author Index.
Knowledge we have in great abundance, and enough exists if wisely used to solve many of the most threatening problems of humanity. The key word is wisely; wisdom we sorely lack. There is a special role to be played by distinguished scholars who, having passed the most challenging tests of their specialized fields, are willing to confront the central questions of human existence. What is life (where is the boundary between life and non-life)? Why do we behave as we do? What is the meaning of human existence? Where do ethical precepts come from? What should be the goals of civilization, beyond mere survival and hedonic reward? These are the kinds of topics George Snell boldly addresses in Search for a Rational Ethic. Scientific knowledge is especially important in any such endeavor, because we are in the golden age of science, and scientific research increasingly impinges on the domain of philosophy. Indeed, it is not too much to say that philosophy has consisted to a large extent of failed neurological models. Much of its investigation pivots on how the mind works, that is, to what extent the mind can perceive reality, how concepts are formed, what is the source of moral reasoning, and so forth. In creasingly, scientific research is leading us to the physical basis of mind. If we are ever to create the correct neurological model, it will be through science.
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