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Virginia Woolf and the Common(wealth) Reader$
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Helen Wussow and Mary Ann Gillies

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780989082679

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.5949/liverpool/9780989082679.001.0001

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date: 18 December 2017

Leslie Stephen’s Science of (Ecological) Ethics

Leslie Stephen’s Science of (Ecological) Ethics

Chapter:
(p.45) Leslie Stephen’s Science of (Ecological) Ethics
Source:
Virginia Woolf and the Common(wealth) Reader
Author(s):

Catherine W. Hollis

Publisher:
Liverpool University Press
DOI:10.5949/liverpool/9780989082679.003.0006

This chapter presents a reading of Leslie Stephen's The Science of Ethics (1882). It argues that Stephen's “sense of reality,” as expressed through his choice of metaphor and analogy, is the chief and lasting interest of The Science of Ethics for us today. The book contains an environmental consciousness embedded within and against its more problematic framework of social Darwinism. Stephen's ecological metaphors in The Science of Ethics (an apple on a tree, a bee in a hive) frame his discussion of the relationship between the individual and society, while suggesting a more capacious understanding of the “common good” to extend to the natural environment human society exists within.

Keywords:   Leslie Stephen, The Science of Ethics, ecological metaphors, environmental consciousnes

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