The theme of Lloyd Morgan’s text, as the title suggests, is emergent evolution. According to the author, emergent evolution works upwards from matter, through life, to consciousness which attains in humankind its highest reflective or supra-reflective level. Ultimately, the author posits: If we may acknowledge on the one hand a physical world underlying the phenomenal appearances with which we are acquainted by sense, and, on the other hand, an immaterial Source of all changes therein; if, in other words, we may acknowledge physical events as ultimately involved and God on whom all evolutionary process ultimately depends, then we may, with Kant, but on different grounds, accept both causation and Causality without shadow of contradiction. But unless we also intuitively enjoy God’s activity within us, feeling that we are in a measure one with him in substance, we can have no immediate knowledge of causality or of God as the source of our own existence and emergent evolution.
According to the author, emergent evolution works upwards from matter, through life, to consciousness, which attains in humankind its highest reflective or supra-reflective level. It accepts the ‘more’ at each ascending stage as that which is given, and accepts it to the full. Emergent evolution urges that the ‘more’ of any given stage, even the highest, involves the ‘less’ of the stages which were precedent to it and continue to coexist with it.
- Kelly Van Andel, University of Glasgow