What Can Be Revived (and What Cannot)
Aristotle’s nutritive soul remains one of the best descriptions of organismality or vegetable life. Darwin’s evolution by natural selection explains the complex organization of extant life. Kant’s causal nexus unifies natural selection (as a string of efficient causes) and the apparent purposiveness of life (as a final cause). We need only make this process of natural selection the identity or essence of life (as formal cause). Then we can say that a single process, in action and in fulfillment, acts as the efficient, formal, and final cause of a living being. Life is an active, chemical processes whose cause, identity, and purpose are self-perpetuation. The vegetable life-concept can be revived in modern biology through evolution and biological nominalism.
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