Onderweg na 'n Christelik-filosofiese analise van evolusie en evolusionisme: Die bydrae van 'n konsekwent probleem-historiese metode
Van der Walt, B.J.
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This article intends to gain more clarity about the philosophical presuppositions underlying evolutionary theories and evolutionism as a worldview. In the light of the wide confusion and disagreement among Christians and Christian scholars it may be helpful toward a better understanding of these burning issues. From about the middle of the previous century the evolutionary theory and evolutionistic worldview were hotly debated topics in the Netherlands as well as in South Africa. In 1963 the Christian philosopher, Dirk H. Th. Vollenhoven (1892-1978), delivered three guest lectures on this topic in South Africa, which have not yet been published in either English or Afrikaans. In spite of the fact that these three lectures could not cover the developments during the last fifty years, they are still relevant for the continuing debate today. Vollenhoven's special contribution was that he uncovered the basic ontological and anthropological presuppositions underlying evolution and evolutionism. To enable a better understanding of Vollenhoven's analyses, the first section of this essay provides a brief overview of his approach - which is often complicated for non-philosophers - especially how his thetic-critical method is applied in his consistent problem-historical method of historiography. For the present issue the following four distinctions are important: (1) His division of Western intellectual thinking into four main periods, viz. pre-synthetic ancient philosophy, synthetic patristic and medieval thinking, post- or anti-synthetic Christian and anti-synthetic secular philosophy. (2) Vollenhoven's division of the history of philosophy according to different successive normative currents. Among these, positivistic rationalism is of special importance to understand the emergence of evolutionism. (3) His distinction according to his doctrine of modalities between the four kingdoms of matter, plants, animals and humans. (4) The difference between mythologizing, purely cosmological (or structural) and cosmogono cosmological (or genetic) thinking, of which only the first and the last can accommodate evolution and evolutionism.
- Faculty of Humanities