The Browser
Cecily Cecily

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Does Life Have A Purpose?

Let nobody say that Aeon ducks the big questions. This brief history of teleological thought, from Aristotle to Nagel, by way of Darwin, arrives at the answer: No. “There‚Äôs no sense for most scientists that a star is for anything, or that a molecule serves an end. But when we come to talk about living things, it seems very hard to shake off the idea that they have purposes and goals, which is served by the ways they have evolved” (3,200 words)

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