Mayr and Jonas
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.
Kentucky Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.
If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.