By Howard P. Kainz (auth.)
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Extra info for Ethics in Context
13 But whether or not we share some or all of these qualities with other animals, most of us in our better moments would consider some of 36 Ethics in Context them to be 'higher' - that is, more significant, more intimately connected with what it means to be human. For those who concur with this insight, the preservation, elaboration and furtherance of these qualities is, indeed, essential to happiness, is even attractive in a fundamental sense (pace Kant), and is the subjective prerequisite for the attainment of the moral good.
37 During the 1970s a new science of 'sociobiology' emerged which, as interpreted by its founder, Edward Wilson,38 seems to indicate that there is a natural, genetic basis for the general sort of hierarchical ranking that Sidgwick refers to. Sociobiological reasoning, which applies to all animals, including human beings, is based on the laws of genetic transmission: Each child I produce contains half my genes; the other half of my children's genes comes, of course, from their mother. Each of my sisters and brothers will also, on average, have 50 per cent of the same genes as I have, since, like me, they have half of my mother's and half of my father's genes.
In terms of the 5/0 categories introduced at the beginning of this chapter, we could say that an individual's temperament will often give him or her a particularly strong impetus towards certain kinds of behaviour that also happen to be considered objectively fitting or correct, aside from considerations of temperament. 2(d) 2. Attempts to Ascertain Objective AestheticlMoral Standards In the case of passive and active aesthetic experience, we saw that there were objective standards, set by society and/or by nature, to which the experience must correspond in order to be complete.