Home » Intelligent Design » Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose

Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose

Or something like that. This book looks WAY interesting…here’s the blurb from the University of California Press:

The world is configured in ways that seem systematically hospitable to life forms, especially the human race. Is this the outcome of divine planning or simply of the laws of physics? Ancient Greeks and Romans famously disagreed on whether the cosmos was the product of intelligent design or accident. In this book, David Sedley examines this question and illuminates new historical perspectives on the pantheon of thinkers who laid the foundations of western philosophy and science. Versions of what we call the “creationist” option were widely favored by the major thinkers of classical antiquity, including Plato, whose ideas on the subject prepared the ground for Aristotle’s celebrated teleology. But Aristotle aligned himself with the anti-creationist lobby, whose most militant members–the atomists–sought to show how a world just like ours would inevitably form by sheer accident, given only the infinity of space and matter. This stimulating study explores seven major thinkers and philosophical movements enmeshed in the debate: Anaxagoras, Empedocles, Socrates, Plato, the atomists, Aristotle, and the Stoics.

In our current cultural context, the equation of “creationism” and intelligent design is politically tendentious, of course (very useful for public school controversies, hopelessly wrong in most other respects). But that minor terminological caveat aside, I can hardly wait to see this book. Give me a pair of sandals, a clay jug of wine, a pleasant grove in which to stroll and argue: I’m there.

(HT to Ashby Camp for the forthcoming notice from the U of CA press…)

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4 Responses to Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose

  1. What? No Epicurus?

  2. It would be very interesting to hear the arguments of the old philosophers. The mind preceded matter argument from pure logic with no allusion to empirical evidence. The logic they used must have been very facinating. I also find it amazing that the theological point of view of Christianity triumphed over all the other pagan religions, including materialism, by the time the middle ages rolled around in Europe without ever any allusion to solid empirical evidence, save, of course, the evidence of God moving in the personal lives of the people back then. This dominant theistic view was changed with the beginning growth of scientific breakthroughs which saw the resurgence of materialism. I also find it very amazing that even though science, in its maturity, has come to thoroughly understand that the foundation of reality is built on what most people consider obvious supernatural principles, with quantum mechanics, relativity etc..etc…, A majority of people still believe materialism i.e. matter preceded mind, is the logically truthful picture of reality that science has presented. This is clearlz not what science has presented us. It truly is a weird situation. Even though we have touched the ÄsupernaturalÄ foundation of reality with our science, we now have more people who belive in materialism than there were people in the middle ages who believed in such foolishness.

  3. Plato et al must have been Christian fundamentalists trying to impose theocracy.

  4. Plus ça change, plus c’est pareil.

    Another way of saying it. It means, “the more things change the more they’re the same”. ;-)

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