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Jerome A. Miller
Forthcoming from Palgrave MacMillan:
The Evolutionary Significance of Human Persons: Evolving Toward the Other
In this book, Jerome Miller brings the perspectives and conceptual resources of recent Continental philosophy to evolutionary theorizing. He argues that Charles Darwin’s intellectual breakthrough—his ability to free his thinking from long-established intellectual assumptions and open the scientific tradition to radically new insights—ought to be recognized as an exemplary instance of robust evolutionary change. The capacity of Darwin and his colleagues to think in an unprecedented way suggests that evolutionary process is not governed by a deterministic regimen, as Galilean-Cartesian cosmology would have us believe. In dialogue with Gould and Bergson, Heidegger and Hume, Miller argues that historical time, the ontological infrastructure of evolution, throes the universe open to the play of radically new, unprecedented possibilities. The affective, cognitive and volitional operations of human intentionality have exemplary evolutionary significance because, in and through them, we’re able to enter this play. Conscious of the future as other than the antecedent, the unknown as other than the known, the stranger as other than ourselves, we’re affect-able by the ought immanent in and emanating from cacti and distant galaxies, elk and other persons. Through the prophetic play of the creative imagination, the affectively charged leap from perceptual experience to intelligent insight, we can become donative participants in alterities. But because the ought comes to us from and as the unprecedented future, it frees us to choose how to respond to it. This gives our lives, both as individuals and members of the polis, the character of a robustly evolutionary normative drama. Venturing into the unprecedented future toward which Levinas and Derrida, Lonergan and Habermas lead, Miller explores the ecstatic, traumatizing possibilities that this drama throes open to us.
The Evolutionary Significance
Evolving Toward the Other
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