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Daniel C. Dennett. Darwin's Dangerous Idea: Evolution and the Meanings of Life · Rating details · 12, Ratings · Reviews. In this groundbreaking and very accessible book, Daniel C. In Darwin's Dangerous Idea he turns his attention directly to the idea of evolution by natural selection, trying to explain why so many of his fellow philosophers. Darwin's Dangerous Idea by Daniel C. Dennett - In a book that is both groundbreaking and accessible, Daniel C. Dennett, whom Chet Raymo of The Boston.


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There is no controversy about the telos of a hammer: The telos of more complicated artifacts, such as camcorders or tow trucks or CT scanners, is if anything more obvious. But even in simple cases, a problem can be seen to loom in the background: What final final cause can be cited to bring this hierarchy of reasons to a darwin dangerous idea

Aristotle had an answer: God, the Prime Mover, the for-which to end all for-whiches. The idea, which is taken up by the Christian, Jewish, and Islamic traditions, is that all our purposes are ultimately God's purposes. The idea is certainly natural and attractive. Darwin dangerous idea we look at a pocket watch and wonder why it has a clear glass crystal on its face, the answer obviously harks back to the needs and desires of the users of watches, who want to tell time, by looking at the hands through the transparent, protective glass, and so forth.

Darwin's Dangerous Idea

If it weren't for these facts about us, for whom the watch was created, there would be no darwin dangerous idea of the "why" of its crystal. If the universe was created by God, for God's purposes, then all the purposes we can find in it must ultimately be due to God's purposes. But what are God's purposes?


That is something of a mystery. One way of deflecting discomfort about that mystery is to switch the topic slightly.

Instead of responding to the "Why" question with a "because"-type answer the sort of answer it seems to demandpeople often substitute a "how" question for the "why" question, and attempt to answer it by telling a story about how it came to be that God created us and the rest of the universe, without dwelling overmuch on just why God might want to have done that.

The "how" question does not get separate billing on Aristotle's list, but it was a popular question and answer long before Aristotle undertook his analysis. The answers to the biggest "how" questions are cosmogonies, stories darwin dangerous idea how the cosmos, the whole universe and all its denizens, came into existence.

The book of Genesis is a cosmogony, but there are many others.

Cosmologists exploring the hypothesis of the Big Bang, and speculating about black holes and super-strings, are present-day creators of cosmogonies. Not all ancient cosmogonies follow the pattern of an artifact-maker.

Some involve a "world egg" laid in "the Darwin dangerous idea by one mythic bird or another, and some involve seeds' being sown and tended. Human imagination has only a few resources to draw upon when faced with such a mind-boggling question.

One early creation myth speaks of a "self-existent Lord" who, "with a thought, created the waters, and deposited in them a seed which became a golden egg, in which egg he himself is born as Brahma, the progenitor of the worlds" Muirvol.

Darwin's Dangerous Idea - Wikipedia

And what's the point of all this egg-laying or seed-sowing or world-building? Or, for that matter, what's the point of the Big Bang? Today's cosmologists, like many of their predecessors throughout history, tell a diverting story, but prefer to sidestep the "why" question of teleology.

Does the universe exist for any reason? Do reasons play any intelligible role in explanations of darwin dangerous idea cosmos? Could something exist for a reason without its being somebody's reason?

Or are reasons -- Aristotle's type 4 causes -- only appropriate in explanations of the works and deeds of people or other rational agents? If God is not a person, a rational agent, an Intelligent Artificer, what possible sense could the biggest "why" question make?

And if the biggest "why" question doesn't make any sense, how could any smaller, more parochial, "why" questions make sense? One of Darwin's most fundamental contributions is showing us a new way to make sense of "why" questions.

Like it or not, Darwin's idea offers one way -- a clear, cogent, astonishingly versatile way -- of dissolving these old conundrums.