Aristotelian Origin of Life

Lest the key quote be lost in my babel, here it is from John Deely:

This is the basis for the prior possibility in principle of so-called ” equivocal generation “: the origin of living matter out of non-living matter by reason of a fortuitous dispositioning of the latter in a chance (or laboratory controlled) series of causes. That this is possible follows from the very nature of the soul as the first act of a body disposed through organization to sustain in being the operations of life. It does not matter by what agencies this organization is effected: the sole condition essential and primary for educing a soul (= for constituting a living being) is the production of an organization suited to life; the actual processes through which this organization is constituted are accidental and purely secondary considerations. A univocal cause is always proportioned to its effect, either in the sense of belonging to the same irreducible ontological level, or in the sense of belonging to a higher order, such that it contains the ontological species of its effect within itself eminently. An equivocal cause, on the other hand, need not be proportioned to its effect except per accidens, in the general way that any material substance is able to act on another by very reason of belonging to a common ontological genus. In this way, as the investigations of biochemistry sufficiently indicate, the structures of the living world are potentially latent throughout the whole of secondary matter;273 for which reason again a concatenation of special circumstances could efficaciously though in a per accidens way disposition the specific (ontologically specific) organization of a living being which otherwise pertained to any one of the circumstanced entities only potentially and indeed inefficaciously. In such a case, there would be no violation of the principle of causality and no need for a ” special” divine concursus (still less intervention) , any more than there are instances of either of these in our everyday experience.274 The soul is but the first actuality of a disposed physico-chemical structure. (pg 324-325, Part 2)

There are any number of very interesting points that Deely makes in his two part work worth reading.

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