Alternative Title

Biology + Ethics = Bioethics via biologist Ernest Everett Just

Publication Date

Winter 1-28-2017


Biology + ethics = bioethics. Here we see that Howard University biologist Ernest Everett Just (born 1883, died 1941) connected biology to ethics.

According to Just, various forms of specific biology (including especially cell biology) plus “general biology” are necessary for explaining adequately the origin of ethical behaviors. Social ethical behaviors, especially mutual aid and cooperative interactions with others and the environment, are essential to evolutionary advances among living creatures, ranging from humans to cells. Accordingly, theory of ethics (moral theory) should have roots in biology.

Also, Just wrote an unpublished book-length manuscript—“some 400 typed pages” (Just 1940)—on seeking the roots of ethical behavior via biology. Clues concerning the existence of this unpublished book are certain to be found at the Howard University Moorland-Spingarn Research Center. Now that the search has begun, I predict some vigilant researcher will find Just’s unpublished 400-page manuscript.


Document Type



biology, ethics, bioethics, Just, general biology, theoretical biology, moral theory


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