From Darwin to Hitler

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April 2006



In this work, Richard Weikart explains the revolutionary impact Darwinism had on ethics and morality. He demonstrates that many leading Darwinian biologists and social thinkers in Germany believed that Darwinism overturned traditional Judeo-Christian and Enlightenment ethics, especially the view that human life is sacred. Many of these thinkers supported moral relativism, yet simultaneously exalted evolutionary 'fitness' (especially intelligence and health) to the highest arbiter of morality. Darwinism played a key role in the rise not only of eugenics, but also euthanasia, infanticide, abortion and racial extermination. This was especially important in Germany, since Hitler built his view of ethics on Darwinian principles, not on nihilism.


Introduction PART I: LAYING NEW FOUNDATIONS FOR ETHICS The Origins of Morality and the Rise of Relativism Evolutionary Progress as the Highest Good Organizing Evolutionary Ethics PART II: DEVALUING HUMAN LIFE The Value of Death The Specter of Inferiority: Devaluing the Disabled The Science of Racial Inequality PART III: ELIMINATING THE "INFERIOR ONES" Controlling Reproduction: Redefining Sexual Morality Killing the Unfit War and Peace Racial Struggle and Extermination Part IV: Impacts Hitler's Ethics Conclusion


RICHARD WEIKART is an Associate Professor of Modern European History, California State University, Stanislaus, USA. He has had two previous books published, including Socialist Darwinism: Evolution in German Socialist Thought from Marx to Bernstein (1999), as well as articles in German Studies Review, Journal of the History of Ideas, Isis, European Legacy and History of European Ideas.


'One of the finest examples of intellectual history I have seen in a long while. It is insightful, thoughtful, informative, and highly readable.' - Ian Dowbiggin, University of Prince Edward Island, Canada, and Author of A Merciful End: The Euthanasia Movement in Modern America Review of the Hardback Edition 'This is an impressive piece of intellectual and cultural history - a well-researched, clearly presented argument with good, balanced, fair judgements. Weikart has a thorough knowledge of the relevant historiography in both German and English.' - Alfred Kelly, Edgar B. Graves Professor of History, Hamilton College, USA 'Richard Weikart, the author of this captivating and well-documented book, makes it clear that he intends to provide the reader with a scrupulously historical study of the Darwinian influence on eugenics, euthanasia, racial theory, and militarism in Germany.' - Paola S. Timiras, The European Legacy
EAN: 9781403972019
ISBN: 140397201X
Untertitel: Evolutionary Ethics, Eugenics, and Racism in Germany. New ed. biography. Sprache: Englisch.
Verlag: Palgrave USA
Erscheinungsdatum: April 2006
Seitenanzahl: 324 Seiten
Format: kartoniert
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