Skip to main content
    • Aa
    • Aa
  • Get access
    Check if you have access via personal or institutional login
  • Cited by 19
  • Cited by
    This article has been cited by the following publications. This list is generated based on data provided by CrossRef.

    VANDERSCHRAAF, PETER 1999. Game Theory, Evolution, and Justice. Philosophy <html_ent glyph="@amp;" ascii="&amp;"/> Public Affairs, Vol. 28, Issue. 4, p. 325.

    Ryan, James A. 1997. A defence of mencius’ ethical naturalism. Asian Philosophy, Vol. 7, Issue. 1, p. 23.

    Ruse, Michael 1994. FROM BELIEF TO UNBELIEF-AND HALFWAY BACK. Zygon�, Vol. 29, Issue. 1, p. 25.

    Ruse, Michael 1994. EVOLUTIONARY THEORY AND CHRISTIAN ETHICS: ARE THEY IN HARMONY?. Zygon�, Vol. 29, Issue. 1, p. 5.

    Singer, Alan E. 1994. Strategy as moral philosophy. Strategic Management Journal, Vol. 15, Issue. 3, p. 191.

    RUSE, MICHAEL 1988. Evolutionary Ethics: Healthy Prospect or Last Infirmity?. Canadian Journal of Philosophy, Vol. 18, Issue. sup1, p. 27.

    Rouhani, S. and Barton, N. 1987. Speciation and the “shifting balance” in a continuous population. Theoretical Population Biology, Vol. 31, Issue. 3, p. 465.

    Ruse, Michael 1987. DARWINISM AND DETERMINISM. Zygon�, Vol. 22, Issue. 4, p. 419.

    McMinn, J. B. 1986. Must the Economic Future Be Like the Past?. Tourism Recreation Research, Vol. 11, Issue. 2, p. 77.

    Ruse, Michael 1986. EVOLUTIONARY ETHICS: A PHOENIX ARISEN. Zygon�, Vol. 21, Issue. 1, p. 95.

    Barton, N. 1983. Book reviews. Animal Behaviour, Vol. 31, Issue. 2, p. 626.

    Wassermann, G.D. 1983. Human Behaviour and Biology. dialectica, Vol. 37, Issue. 3, p. 169.

    Mackie, J. L. 1982. Morality and the retributive emotions. Criminal Justice Ethics, Vol. 1, Issue. 1, p. 3.

    McLean, I. 1982. 'Tit-for-Tat and Ethical Computers. Politics, Vol. 2, Issue. 1, p. 31.

    1982. Game Theory and Experimental Games.

    Mackie, J. L. 1981. Genes and Egoism. Philosophy, Vol. 56, Issue. 218, p. 553.


    McGinn, Colin 1979. Evolution, Animals, and the basis of morality. Inquiry, Vol. 22, Issue. 1-4, p. 81.

    Midgley, Mary 1979. Gene-juggling. Philosophy, Vol. 54, Issue. 210, p. 439.


The Law of the Jungle: Moral Alternatives and Principles of Evolution

  • J. L. Mackie (a1)
  • DOI:
  • Published online: 01 January 2009

When people speak of ‘the law of the jungle’, they usually mean unions restrained and ruthless competition, with everyone out solely for his own advantage. But the phrase was coined by Rudyard Kipling, in The Second Jungle Book, and he meant something very different. His law of the jungle is a law that wolves in a pack are supposed to obey. His poem says that ‘the strength of the Pack is the Wolf, and the strength of the Wolf is the Pack’, and it states the basic principles of social co-operation. Its provisions are a judicious mixture of individualism and collectivism, prescribing graduated and qualified rights for fathers of families, mothers with cubs, and young wolves, which constitute an elementary system of welfare services. Of course, Kipling meant his poem to give moral instruction to human children, but he probably thought it was at least roughly correct as a description of the social behaviour of wolves and other wild animals. Was he right, or is the natural world the scene of unrestrained competition, of an individualistic struggle for existence?

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

  • ISSN: 0031-8191
  • EISSN: 1469-817X
  • URL: /core/journals/philosophy
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *