The introduction defines the central philosophical question examined in the book: What is the moral meaning of nature? It examines the importance of this question for thinking about the relationship between science and religion and establishes its contemporary resonance. It explains the selection of figures in the book, Friedrich Nietzsche, Franz Overbeck, Georg Simmel, and Heinrich Rickert. It briefly describes their historical background and relationships to one another, and summarizes the main contents of each chapter. It concludes with a discussion of the problem of teleology in the representation of life and evolution, which is central to the way each thinker mediated the relationship between science and religion.
Keywords: science and religion, value, vitalism, teleology, Nietzsche, Neo-Kantianism, evolution and philosophy