ID as a theory of technological evolution

Abstract

In Book II of the Physics Aristotle remarks, “If the ship-building art were in the wood, it would produce the same results by nature.” Aristotle is here contrasting nature and art. Nature provides the raw materials (here wood); art provides the means for fashioning those materials (here into a ship). For Aristotle, art consists in the knowledge and skill to produce an object and presupposes the imposition of form on the object from outside. On the other hand, nature consists in capacities inherent in the physical world--capacities that produce objects, as it were, internally and without outside help. Thus in Book VII of the Metaphysics Aristotle writes, “Art is a principle of movement in something other than the thing moved; nature is a principle in the thing itself.” Consequently, Aristotle refers to art as completing “what nature cannot bring to a finish.” Thomas Aquinas took this idea and sacramentalized it into grace completing nature.

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