From Aristotle To Darwin & Back Again: A Journey In Final Causality, Species And Evolution
From Aristotle to Darwin & Back Again: A Journey in Final Causality, Species and Evolution
Darwin's theory of evolution remains controversial, even though most scientists, philosophers, and even theologians accept it, in some form, as a well-attested explanation for the variety of organisms. The controversy erupts when the theory is used to try to explain everything, including every aspect of human life, and to deny the role of a Creator or a purpose to life. It is then that philosophers and theologians cry, "Foul!"
The overreaching of many scientists into fields beyond their competence is perhaps explained in part by the loss of an important idea in modern thinking-final causality or purpose. Scientists understandably bracket the idea out of their scientific thinking because they seek natural explanations and other kinds of causes. Yet many of them wrongly conclude from their selective study of the world that final causes do not exist at all and that they have no place in the rational study of life. Likewise, many erroneously assume that philosophy cannot draw upon scientific findings, in light of final causality, to better understand the world and man.
The great philosopher and historian of philosophy Etienne Gilson sets out in this...