The essay examines the relevance ethics, unexpectedly, assumed in England, in the 1890s. This was due to the rise of eugenics, physiognomics and craniology, extremely dangerous pseudo-sciences that posed a threat to a just society. These were the result of a misinterpretation and a misreading of central Darwinian issues, that this essay specifies, due to Spencer’s social projection of Darwinism. Literature and philosophy reacted strongly. The intelligentsia of the time underlined the peril such pseudo-sciences posed. The indignation shown by philosophers and literati, and their claim for a clear-cut ethical stance to protect those less favored by nature or society, is thus read as an early 19th-century instance of what would only later be termed 'bioethics'.

BioEthics 'avant la lettre': Nineteenth-Century Instances in Post-Darwinian Literature

BEZRUCKA, Yvonne
2011-01-01

Abstract

The essay examines the relevance ethics, unexpectedly, assumed in England, in the 1890s. This was due to the rise of eugenics, physiognomics and craniology, extremely dangerous pseudo-sciences that posed a threat to a just society. These were the result of a misinterpretation and a misreading of central Darwinian issues, that this essay specifies, due to Spencer’s social projection of Darwinism. Literature and philosophy reacted strongly. The intelligentsia of the time underlined the peril such pseudo-sciences posed. The indignation shown by philosophers and literati, and their claim for a clear-cut ethical stance to protect those less favored by nature or society, is thus read as an early 19th-century instance of what would only later be termed 'bioethics'.
9783110252859
Post-Darwinian Literature; Bram Stoker; Dracula; H.G. Wells; The Island of Doctor Moreau; ethics; bioethics; law in literature; Huxley; Darwinian evolution; Galton; craniology; racial theories; physiognomics; 19th-century pseudosciences
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11562/334769
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