The problem of individuality, physical and mental, is one which obviously has great interest for philosophy. The unity and continuity of the ordinary human consciousness—the “ ego,” the “personality—give us the concrete standard by which we ordinarily judge other systems which have tended towards individuation. A comparative and evolutionary study of biological data, however, will provide us with many facts which throw a new light on the problem. They are often puzzling, but must be taken into account.
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This collection features five essays from noted theologians, philosophers, geneticists, and biologists who discuss the sweeping impact of Charles Darwin's _On the Origin of Species_ on their respective fields. This volume, edited by Ralph Buchsbaum, professor of biology at the University of Pittsburgh, was published to celebrate the centenary of Darwin's announcement in 1858, along with Alfred Russel Wallace, of their independent discovery of the process of natural selection. Darwin's book was published one year later.
The concept of evolution is of fundamental importance to any general scheme of thought: and one of the ways in which its importance is greatest is in defining the place of mind within any such scheme. If bodies and their contained brains have evolved, why not the accompanying minds? Indeed, to-day the question can only be properly put the other way round: how can the minds not have evolved? Mental evolution can only have failed to occur if we deny to (...) mind the principle of continuity, which is one of our axioms on the physical side: only, that is to say, if the world ceases to be rational. (shrink)