Monday, October 17, 2005

The Selfish (or not) Gene

Dawkin's phrase, 'the selfish gene' was criticized by philosopher Mary Midgely, partly because of what she regarded as definitional vagueness, but more fundamentally on account of philosophical laziness. 'Genes cannot be selfish or unselfish, any more than atoms can be jealous, elephants abstract or biscuits teleological.'

Dawkins' God - Alister McGrath - chapter 1. Midley's quote comes from 'Gene-Juggling, an article in Philosophy 54 (1979).

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