Department/School

Philosophy

Date of this version

2008

Document Type

Article

Keywords

evolutionary biology, Stephen Jay Gould

Abstract

Stephen Jay Gould and others have argued that what we know about evolution implies that human beings are a ‘cosmic accident’. In this paper I examine an argument for Gould’s view and then attempt to show that it fails. Contrary to the claims of Gould, Daniel Dennett, and others, it is a mistake to think that what we have learned from evolutionary biology somehow shows that human beings are mere accidents of natural history. Nor does what we know about the contingency of evolution give us good reason to reject the view that human beings came to be according to a divine providential plan.

Published in

Religious Studies

Citation/Other Information

Rota, M. (2008). Evolution, providence, and Gouldian contingency. Religious Studies, 44, 393-412.