New Curricular Unit

January 31, 2018

“Biopolitics and Evolutionary Ethics”


Master level (free option, 2º semester 2017/18)


The Ifilnova/Eplab is offering a new curricular unit for master and PhD students of the Nova University of Lisbon in the 2º semester of 2017/2018. This initiative is part of the EPLab’s strategy to connect research with teaching, providing students with the most cutting-edge and updated insights in ethics and political philosophy. The curricular unit is called “Biopolitics and Evolutionary Ethics” and is taught by Filipe Nobre Faria, who pursues post-doctoral work at Ifilnova/Eplab.


Docent: Filipe Nobre Faria /


Course description:

Due to the strong developments that took place within evolutionary biology in the last decades, the 21st century is already considered to be the century of biology. Still, what are the consequences of these developments for the philosophical sphere? This course analyses the impact of evolutionary biology on political philosophy and ethics. Namely, it examines how evolutionary science permeates these philosophical fields and forces a revision of the main ethical and political theories. Starting with the presentation of standard evolutionary models (e.g. group selection, inclusive fitness), this course discusses the ideas of biopolitical thinkers like Nietzsche, Hayek, Singer and Gaus, aiming to understand their relevance for contemporary political questions, such as the tensions between liberalism vs communitarianism or global justice vs local justice. At the level of normative ethics, the course discusses the role of cultural and biological evolution in shaping our normative capacity of thought and social values. In particular, it evaluates the consequences of the theory of natural selection for standard ethical systems such as utilitarianism, deontology and social contract ethics.

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Faculdade de Direito Universidade Nova de Lisboa