Telmo Pievani

Contingency, Ethics of Finitude, and Theology

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The starting point for this essay is the recent debate arising from the publication of Henri Gee's latest book, with refl ections on the different reactions to certain scientifi c discoveries that attest ever more clearly to the contingent nature of the process of human evolution, culminating in the appearance of Homo sapiens. A terminological and conceptual analysis is presented of the concept of evolutionary contingency, which needs to be distinguished from that of randomness. The philosophical and theological implications of contingency are thus considered for the defi nition of an ethics of fi nitude. The fi nal section considers some possible positive moral values that might derive from a non-fi nalistic philosophy of history, within the framework of what could be defi ned as an ethics of contingency.

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