Chapter

The Origin of Species

Norman Kretzmann

in The Metaphysics of Creation

Published in print October 2001 | ISBN: 9780199246540
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191597879 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0199246548.003.0006
 The Origin of Species

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Aquinas now moves from arguments about creation to distinguishing things, which is, broadly speaking, to be described as his understanding of the origin of species. Like Augustine, Aquinas adopts a non‐literal reading of Genesis 1, a view, which would have equipped him to appreciate scientific accounts of evolution. He differentiates determinate distinguishing from general distinguishing, providing the fundamental metaphysical framework to explain the development of the world's species. Aquinas's theory of the distinguishing of things is preceded by, and based on, his theory of the origin of the stuff that gets distinguished: not by chance nor by the diversity of matter alone but by God's producing something out of nothing, a mind behind the scenes. An examination follows of God's choice of this world rather than another.

Keywords: Aquinas; Augustine; chance; creation; diversity of matter; evolution; Genesis; God; origin of species

Chapter.  20730 words. 

Subjects: History of Western Philosophy

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