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Samuel Alexander’s Evolutionary Hedonism

Samuel Alexander’s Evolutionary Hedonism:

  • Social equilibrium is the moral ideal, according to Alexander; it is the perfect adjustment of the conduct of the individual members of the society to one another and the elimination of conflict among them. Conflicts among individuals and groups are inimical to social equilibrium.
  • Alexander explains the origin of moral ideals by a process of natural selection. In the animal world, natural selection means survival of the fittest or the strongest. But in morality, it means the extermination of the weaker ideals by the more perfect ideals, not by the brute force but by moral persuasion.
  •  Although Alexander is primarily known as a metaphysician, he also wrote extensively on many other philosophical topics, including the history of philosophy, ethics, aesthetics, and the philosophy of religion.                                      Samuel Alexanders Evolutionary Hedonism
  • In human affairs, the war of natural selection is carried out not against weaker or incompatible individuals, but against their ideals or modes of life. Thus, in moral evolution, lower ideals are supplanted by higher ideals through persuasion and education.                                                Samuel Alexander’s Evolutionary Hedonism


  • Alexander’s application of the principle of Natural Selection to morals is arbitrary. He himself admits that in morality it does not mean survival of the fittest or the strongest or extermination of the weakest, but that it means the triumph of higher ideals over lower ideals through persuasion.                                      Samuel Alexander’s Evolutionary Hedonism
  • But this can hardly be called natural selection. This is a clear admittance of the failure of biological concepts to explain moral values.



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