chapter  2
A “Science of Ethics”?
ByDallas Willard, Steven L. Porter, Aaron Preston, Gregg A. Ten Elshof
Pages 61

This chapter compares two late nineteenth-century approaches to creating a “science of ethics.” The classical Utilitarians and Herbert Spencer adopted an approach to making ethics scientific by grounding it in the natural sciences. Others, including T. H. Green and Franz Brentano, embraced a broader and more traditional understanding of “science” which emphasized the rigorous organization of knowledge to facilitate demonstration, but without being too specific about what forms this could (or could not) take. The bulk of this chapter consists in a discussion of Spencer’s evolutionary ethics, followed by a detailed exposition of Green’s ethical theory, followed by an exposition of and comparison with Brentano’s system.