File this one under shameless self-promotion. Darwinian Conservatism: A Disputed Question, is now in print from Imprint Academic, in Britain. It consists of a manuscript by Larry Arnhart, previously published in book form under the title Darwinian Conservatism. The second part of the new book consists of a number of critical essays by a range of scholars. The third part consists of Arnhart's response to the essays, and my defense of Larry's thesis.
Larry's original book was very good. He argued that Darwinian theory supports conservative political principles. Obviously I agree, and you can find out why if you order the book from Borders or Barnes and Noble. The release date is June 1st, and the publisher's price $34.90.
To give you a little taste, here is the final paragraph of my essay: "Natural Right and Natural Selection."
I have argued that Darwinian biology is consistent with a basically Aristotelian view of life. The former is therefore non-reductionist both metaphysically and morally. Everything that lives comes out of and is entirely composed of what is dead: mere matter. The organism is nonetheless robustly alive. Nothing like it could have been predicted from any knowledge of its material constituents or their laws. Human beings emerge out of the tree of life, but we are almost as great a leap from the other animals as the animals from the plants. We are capable of deliberation concerning justice and the common good, without which we are the worst of all the animals. We are not capable of perfection, and so every human society will require governments and laws. Human beings can be the best of animals, but we are also the most dangerous. That, I submit, is the basic insight of conservatism.
So: all of you who have been reading my blog for a day or more now have the chance to return the favor. Whip out your credit cards while rates are still low and a pre-order a copy. I highly recommend it. The editor is both handsome and brilliant.