5 de setembro de 2009

Evolução, Filosofia e Cultura


Resumo da conferência do Prof. Fiorenzo Facchini no Congresso sobre o Impacto de Darwin, na Faculdade de Filosofia de Braga (10-12 de Setembro)


Culture and its philosophical implications in an evolutionary view

Hominization starts with the splitting of the human lineage from the Apes lineage about 6-7 million years ago. In this period of time we have remains that can be referred to Australopithecines and remains referred to the genus Homo. Currently taxonomy refers many species to the genus Homo (habilis/rudolfensis, ergaster/erectus, sapiens), but this cannot be adopted as a criterion to recognize man.
A skeletal remain attributed to the genus Homo out of its anatomic features, does not necessarily imply that it represents man in a philosophical sense, i.e. a thinking man. But when we happen to meet skeletal remains, which are connected with products showing systematic and innovative works, man’s presence can be suggested whatever morphological and evolutive level the remain is to be referred to.
What distinguishes human technology from non-human one (as it occurs with Apes and Australopithecus) is the complexity of the actions by which the instrument was built and even more the capacity to improve and innovate the technique (Bergson) and the significance assumed by this kind of products in the life context (Ries, Deacon). Instrumental culture reveals a symbolism which we suggested to call functional, distinguishing it from the symbolism expressed in language (social symbolism) and from the symbolism represented by artistic and religious expressions, not connected with subsistence strategies (spiritual symbolism).
At the phenomenological level culture reveals discontinuity in the behaviour when compared with the behaviour of non-human Hominids. Dobzhansky suggests an evolutive transcendence connected with the appearance of man.
The laws and the organizational modalities of human societies are set on an extra-biologic plane.
The nature or reason of this transcendence implies philosophical considerations. The cultural discontinuity implies abstractive intelligence, self-awareness, symbolic communication and freedom that cannot be reduced to purely biological activities and introduces into the picture the spiritual dimension. John Paul II speaks of “ontological difference”, of “ontological gap”.
The will of the Creator includes, at a certain moment of the evolutionary process, a corporeity enriched by spirit, not in the sense of an entity which is added to another one, almost placed on or beside it, but which, starting from a certain moment, exists inside the other one, as and when it is God’s will, in a way similar to what happens in the human ontogenesis,
Connected with the cultural attitude is the ethical behaviour which requires to recognize certain values and to choose freely; but the ethical behaviour is not regulated by natural selection in the Darwinian sense. Ethical behaviour is exclusive of human species. The conditions of the ethical behaviour are present in man (ability to elaborate values and freedom of choice), but moral codes are not the product of biological evolution (Ayala). The norms of morality, which are consistent with biological nature, are connected with cognitive capacity and pursued freely.

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