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Evolutionary ethics: can values change
  1. K C Calman
  1. Correspondence to:
 Professor Sir K C Calman
 Vice-Chancellor and Warden, University of Durham, University Office, Old Elvet, Durham DH1 3HP, UK;


The hypothesis that values change and evolve is examined by this paper. The discussion is based on a series of examples where, over a period of a few decades, new ethical issues have arisen and values have changed. From this analysis it is suggested that there are a series of core values around which most people would agree. These are unlikely to change over long time periods. There are then a series of secondary or derived values around which there is much more controversy and within which differences of view occur. Such changes need to be documented if we are to understand the process involved in the evolution of differences in ethical views.

  • Evolutionary ethics
  • values
  • medical ethics

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