Robert Wright’s recent book on evolutionary psychology, The Moral Animal, is concerned largely with the ethical implications of recent evolutionary science, and espouses a form of utilitarianism as the ethical theory that should naturally follow evolutionary insights into human psychology. This paper challenges that notion, with constant reference to the work of the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, on the basis that such an ethical theory places far too little emphasis on the individual as such, and is tantamount to a form of nihilism. This paper also argues that, while seeking for the happiness of other people is a good thing, our most sacred duty is not to our fellow man, but to ourselves, and that the greatest ethical imperative is to “become who you are.” We have received with distress the news that we are fundamentally selfish beings, but Nietzsche’s advice is not that we try to minimize that selfishness — rather, we should make ourselves worthy of it.

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