Heidegger and Evolution
5th March 2011
In an attempt to stop bothering my supervisors (i’m not in care) and instead bother other people i would be interested in people’s comments on essay ideas i have. I tried to be as original as possible which maybe a weakness, but anyhow, in the spirit of learning i’m putting my ideas ‘out there’ to be criticised. Let me know what you think or possible areas for development.
Here’s an extract from an essay/idea i’m considering (apologies for the length)
I would like to argue that Heidegger’s philosophy of ‘Being and Time’ presents an intuitive framework for understanding ‘evolution’. Not just biological evolution but evolution as a process, a state of becoming. In the same way that simple single cell organisms become complex multi-cellular life, or that elementary particles become heavy metals, or that spinning hot balls of gases become clusters of galaxies, each has the potential for the other. I do not want to infer any teleology in this framework, i.e. that human intelligence was a necessary step or that some design is required. More in the Heideggarian sense that all things carry their evolutionary past with them to be projected into a potential future, that evolution is Being and being, in that objects that exist are a part of evolution and evolution as a system allows those things to exist or go extinct placing them in the background of nothingness. Heidegger’s ‘Dasein’, ‘being there’ and ‘being with’ applies to all things, he intended it only to refer to humans but I think it can be applied to all objects that are subject to evolution, that are in the world and by definition of evolution interact with their world. As a result of evolution objects carry with them the history of their ancestors and so are always ‘being with’ as well as ‘being there’. ‘Throwness’ is essentially an evolutionary idea, in that all things do not choose the fundamental aspects of their being, where and how they were created, what past they are created into, we do not control what events we run into or what events will shape us. In the same way that every human is thrown into a biography not of their choosing be it their country of origin, ethnicity, host language or sexual orientation so to generations of organisms are thrown into a process that chooses them but they did not choose.