On purpose

Oxford University Press
Oxford University Press (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Tim Mulgan

Purpose in the Universe: The moral and metaphysical case for Ananthropocentric Purposivism

Tim Mulgan, Purpose in the Universe: The Moral and Metaphysical Case for Ananthropocentric Purposivism, Oxford University Press, 2015, 435pp., $85.00 (hbk), ISBN 9780199646142.

Reviewed by Joshua W. Seachris, University of Notre Dame

In this ground-breaking, far-reaching, and carefully-argued book, Tim Mulgan puts a previously underdeveloped view on a conceptual-dialectical map largely dominated by theism and naturalism. This view he calls “ananthropocentric purposivism” (AP). AP is the view that, contra atheism, the universe has a purpose, but, contra benevolent theism (BT), that purpose is non-human-centered. Put simply, there is a cosmic purpose, but humans are irrelevant to that purpose. Mulgan contends that we live in a religiously ambiguous universe where the available evidence reasonably can be understood in profoundly different ways by humans (hence, the presence of both theistic and atheistic interpretations of the world). He claims that a more careful look at that evidence should prompt us to take AP seriously, and may even tip the scales in favor of AP over both BT and atheism. In Purpose in the Universe he takes this more careful look.

Read the review here!

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