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Frog Pond PhilosophyEssays on the Relationship Between Humans and Nature$
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Strachan Donnelley, Ceara Donnelley, and Bruce Jennings

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780813167275

Published to Kentucky Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.5810/kentucky/9780813167275.001.0001

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Neo-Darwinian Cosmologies

Neo-Darwinian Cosmologies

Mayr and Jonas

(p.154) 17 Neo-Darwinian Cosmologies
Frog Pond Philosophy

Strachan Donnelley

, Ceara Donnelley, Bruce Jennings
University Press of Kentucky

In this chapter, Donnelley argues that evolutionary theory constitutes one of the most profound revolutions in the whole history of Western science and philosophy. The relational cosmology developed by Spinoza and Whitehead had then to take a decisive turn when it came into contact with an evolutionary perspective and was more explicated as a philosophy of organic life. This is exemplified, for Donnelley, in the work of Hans Jonas, who developed a new philosophy of organic life, and Ernst Mayr, who was instrumental in showing the genetic basis of Darwinian natural selection and who contributed as well as a historian and philosopher of science. Donnelley reviews the similarities and differences of these two thinkers in terms of materialism, causation, and the relationship between natural science and natural philosophy. He concludes that Mayr is the philosopher and ethical champion of natural and human becoming. Jonas, on the other hand, is the philosopher and ethical champion of organic and human being. He is less stunned by the innumerable material forms and processes of life than by the very fact of life itself and especially organic life’s capacity for moral responsibility, evidenced in human beings.

Keywords:   Ernst Mayr, Hans Jonas, Spinoza, being, becoming

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