Mankind and the Planet

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Mankind and the Planet, past, present and future Philosophical Speculations

(unpublished text from papers left by Unger)

Page 1

1. Aim and Aimlessness in Nature, Design and Mechanism

'Aims' are realised by providing all possible positions from amongst which one is aimed at, giving play to free chance in the entire range of the possibilities and allowing infinite time, so that the one possibility that is being aimed at is bound to show up at some time, however remote. Nature's way of achieving aims is the chance play of possibilities. The purposiveness of Nature is found in the very device that seems to exclude it. There is true purpose in Nature in the cosmological (whole) sense and absence of purpose in the finite (empirical) scale and sense.

2. The Waste Principle of Nature

The waste principle of Nature, i.e., the provision of millions and millions of combinations that allow for the possibility that one amongst them can take control over all the rest, at least in principle, is a consequence or an expression of the purposive aimlessness of Nature. When the total of possibilities allows for the eventual emergence of the possibility that is the source, centre and embodiment of purposive behaviour, capable, in its turn, of influencing the play of all the remaining possibilities in a purposeful direction, then the entire complex of possibilities implies or contains a point of origin for purpose and is itself purposeful. In other words, if the possibility of a being such as Man (Man being a point of origin for purpose) emerging out of the chance play of possibilities and combinations of the universe is included, the whole is itself purposive.