History, Evolution, and The Darwin Debate

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“…if we attend to the play of freedom of the human will in the large, we may be able to discern a regular movement in it”

December 1st, 2014 · No Comments

Our discussion of economies, free agents, and the same questions in the context of world history and thence evolution in general makes the relationship of free agents and historical dynamism intrinsic. We start with an idea from a famous essay by Kant on history with its ‘curious’ first paragraph. Out intuitions of the relationship of ‘freedom’ and ‘causality’ in a pairing is addressed directly by Kant who stumbles on the idea of ‘laws’ relating to ‘free agents’. This ‘causality of freedom’ in WHEE is a spontaneous statement of a kind antinomy, yet points to a potential solution as a scientific problem. WHEE, and Last and First Men, make use of this idea and point to a spectacular example in world history: the ‘causality of freedom’ (which has to dissolve opposites into semi-opposites, system action and free action, causality becoming a vagure as yet ‘general determination’) is visible in the ‘causality of democracy’ which has to be restated as the ‘determination of democracy and the free agency that realizes it’ shows a regular movement in the cyclical recurrence of democracy… And this relates the the ‘Hegelian’ ‘end of history’ idea in the perception that there is indeed a ‘directionality’, perhaps ‘teleology’ behind ‘political systems of freedom’.

There is also the more general idea of the ‘evolution of freedom’: if man is now free and evolved from something other than that, i.e. from ‘passive causal existence’ in nature, then there must be a causal or ‘general determination’ for that ‘freedom’, a spectacular contradiction in action, whose mystery we can’t observe, but we can see the later downstream descendants of that, as with our example of democracy in world history, an incomplete hint of at least something like the ‘causality of freedom’. The latter idea is antinomial but has a host of lesser examples: if you unchain a group of prisoners you have ’caused’ freedom…in some sense… The standard causality of science assumes a unique outcome in a causal event, but the causality freedom could be something that causes a whole field of events.

History…permits us to hope that if we attend to the play of freedom of the human will in the large, we may be able to discern a regular movement in it…
Kant, Idea For A Universal History

..cf Appendix to Last and First Men…

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