Explorations: 4

E Plato Aristotle.jpg

Plato and Aristotle cropped from Raphael’s School of Athens

Aristotle, the father of western philosophy, strongly influenced the U.S. founding fathers’ beliefs in individuality and man’s purpose, illustrated by Thomas Jefferson’s first sentence of the preamble to the U.S. Declaration of Independence; We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. 

The pursuit of happiness was Aristotle’s belief of man’s purpose, his end, his goal, his telos; the pursuit of happiness, the pursuit of fulfillment, the pursuit of excellence, or using Aristotle’s term, the pursuit of virtue: man’s purpose, man’s telos.

Darwin’s theory of evolution assumes that all organisms reach their present state through natural selection, random processes, accidental design, anti-telos. Organisms evolving with a purpose implies intelligent design, which entails religion, not science, except that it can be argued that the intent of an organism’s evolution is to enhance its ability to survive, which is a purpose, an end, a goal: telos.

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