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(p.132) Conclusion
The Moral Meaning of Nature
Peter J. Woodford
University of Chicago Press

The conclusion summarizes the key points of conflict between each of these thinkers and it attempts to draw some lessons from their disagreements. It resists the temptation to try to resolve these disputes in any finally conclusive manner, but suggests points of convergence between the Nietzscheans and Rickert. On the basis of this convergence, it proposes a novel approach to the teleological organization of life that can be drawn from these debates. This perspective sees opposing teleological representations of organisms and evolution as distinctly value-laden forms of representation, forms that are generated by implicit acknowledgements of life’s own intrinsic value. It also questions the notion that this value-laden nature of representation renders such concepts invalid. It describes how these topics and thinkers were received in later developments of German thought and shows the resonance of these issues in contemporary discussions of biology and philosophy. Finally, it suggests that there are philosophical points about the relationship between science and religion to take away from these debates that can inform contemporary discussions. These thinkers pointed to productive tensions between the philosophy of biology and the philosophy of religion that are still important to think about today.

Keywords:   teleology, science and religion, evolutionary ethics, naturalism, life, values in science, phenomenology

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