Philosophy of Evolution
by John Edward Mulvihill,
S.T.D., D.Min., Ph.D.
Evolution Needs Some Concept of Purpose.
This synthetic part of the dissertation will be the development of a philosophy course with reference to
the views on evolution by Neo-Scholastic philosophers.4
Thirteen theses or propositions to be proved are listed
below in three categories:
1. Evolutionism is philosophically possible.
2. Evolutionism needs some concept of purpose.
3. Evolutionism is incompatible with Mechanicism.
4. Evolutionism is incompatible with Materialism.
5. Evolutionism is compatible with Hylemorphism.
Evolution of Man:
6. Certainly, man is essentially different from other animals.
7. Possibly, the human body has evolved.
8. Certainly, the human soul has not evolved.
9. Future biological evolution of man is unlikely, and equivocal.
Evolution as Fruitful Idea:
10. Evolutionary abiogenesis is probable, but equivocal.
11. Cosmic evolution is possible, but equivocal.
12. Social evolution is unlikely, but equivocal.
13. Atheistic evolution is impossible, and equivocal.
Thus, questions will be raised and answered concerning three categories: concerning the philosophy of evolution itself,
concerning the evolution of man, and concerning the fruitfulness of the idea of evolution. First, relative to each thesis
in this proposed course of philosophy, an attempt will be made to give the state of the question in terms of history. Then
the participants in the dialogue, or opponents, will be noted. Thirdly, definitions and divisions of terms will be considered.
Fourth, the question needing a reply will be proposed. Fifth, an attempt will be made to give some philosophical foundations
for each thesis from St. Thomas Aquinas; although it is clear that a twelfth century philosopher and theologian did not directly
treat the issue of evolution which arose in the middle of the nineteenth century. Sixth, some attempt will be made to prove
each thesis philosophically in terms familiar to all Neo-Scholastics. Finally, some attempt will be made to assess the level
of certitude of each of the thirteen theses, since some statements are proposed in a more serious way that others.