disorganized and disjointed, but other scholars have questioned For instance, consider the question whether rainfall is a teleologically explicable phenomenon, a question raised by a much disputed passage in Physics II.8 in which Aristotle asks “what prevents nature creating neither for the sake of something ( μὴ ἕνεκά), nor the better ( ὅτι βέλτιον), but as Zeus rains, not in order to make the crops grow, but out of necessity?” ( Phys II.8.198b16-19, J. He would probably reply that it is not really an absolute principle, but rather a description of behavior, a description of virtuous acts. and dilemmas. Nonetheless, so as to give some indication of the way forward, I should like to end with briefly highlighting some lectures given by Thomas Merton on this theme, which have recently been published as A Course in Christian Mysticism.66 Merton is a vivid and literary example of someone committed to practising in the tradition of the contemplation of nature, while also being cognisant of the ecological crisis in the early stages of the debate. In teaching the contemplation of nature, Merton first presents it as the threshold of the contemplative life. Blowers and Wilken, Cosmic Mystery, p. 59. 12.On the contrast between external and internal, art and nature, in conceptions of teleology, see further, Michael Ruse, Darwin and Design: Does Nature Have a Purpose (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2003), pp. A person does not cease to have a witty disposition in virtue of a single joke that might err on the side of buffoonery, or cease to be generous because they fail to donate to charity on one occasion. Metaphors such as ‘dissecting’, ‘mastering’ or ‘captivating’ notwithstanding, early modern philosophers did not envision humanity’s relation with the natural world as one of greedy ruthlessness, and in view of the all too easy caricaturing of ‘Western modernity’ it is probably well to note this. Is Teleology Ethics? Teleology, although named by Christian von Wolff in 1728, originated in the western world with Plato and Aristotle. Nicholas Constas (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2014). . Laurence has had too much to drink and chooses to climb a traffic light with a traffic cone on his head. Aristotle says of his ideally virtuous person that they will have a unified psychology — that their rational and non-rational psychologies will speak with one voice. Teleologically, there is a reason behind Aristotle’s insistence on moderation, but does this get at the nature of good actions? Again, whether this is a strength or weakness is for you to decide and defend. 6 However, the fundamental form of teleology for Aristotle—what he calls ‘that-for-the-sake-of-which’ (τὸ οῦ ἓνεκα), or … Thomas Nagel, Mind and Cosmos: Why the Materialist Neo-Darwinian Conception of Nature is Almost Certainly False (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012); Evan Thompson, Mind in Life: Biology, Phenomenology, and the Sciences of Mind (Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2010); Terrence Deacon, Incomplete Nature: How Mind Emerged from Matter (New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2012). why we ought to value other natural things more for their own ends than for what we can do with them . the knowledge potentially but not actually. The most basic unit is actually the family, and households join But what about his Principle of the Golden Mean? . But of these the Final is a long way from being useful; in fact it actually distorts the sciences except in the case of human actions.’26, And Descartes continues in the same vein: ‘They [the principles of the new physics] made me see that it is possible to achieve knowledge which would be very useful for life and that, in place of the speculative philosophy that is taught in the Schools, it is possible to find a practical philosophy by which . Which of the two extremes is “closer to” (more similar to) the mean? Please read and accept the terms and conditions and check the box to generate a sharing link. Aristotle’s belief that the celestial bodies are living, self-moving organisms is very different, of course from modern views. Find out about Lean Library here, If you have access to journal via a society or associations, read the instructions below.