On Purpose

In last week’s Takimag, the philosophical doctor ponders the purpose-seeking nature of man, the Lisbon earthquake of 1755, and the appeal of conspiracy theories—all stemming from misplacing his credit card.

Yet such is the nature of the human mind that even the firmest believer in the meaninglessness of existence finds purpose difficult to eliminate from his thoughts. If you read books by strict Darwinists, for example, you will frequently find locutions such as “Evolution did this” or “Evolution decreed that,” as if Evolution were a being with a mind and purpose of its own. The question remains, of course, whether we impose purpose on the world (by which I mean all that exists) because of our psychological makeup or whether purpose is genuinely immanent in the world. I incline to the former view, but I would not go to the stake for it.

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