The Self, Ethics, Agency and Tragedy

Authored by: David Palmer

The Routledge Companion to Theatre, Performance, and Cognitive Science

Print publication date:  September  2018
Online publication date:  September  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138048898
eBook ISBN: 9781315169927
Adobe ISBN:


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A consequence of the Darwinian revolution is the enhancement of a materialist theory of the universe. Darwin showed that order can arise simply from the interaction of physical elements within a system. A conscious designer with a teleological plan is not needed to explain the evolution of species any more than a conscious designer is needed to create the recurring patterns in a stack of marbles that have been run down an inclined peg board: the pattern is a function simply of the interaction of the physical elements of the system, such as the diameters of the marbles and the arrangement of the pegs. Physical systems can order themselves driven completely by laws of cause and effect (Dennett 1995, 125–33; Richards 2000, 11–18).

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