De Koninck and Aquinas on Matter and Evolution
In the philosophical section of his book The Cosmos, Charles De Koninck presents a Thomistic answer to the question on evolution. De Koninck’s intention is to draw a metaphysical theory of evolution that does not depend on any singular fact of natural history but that could support some of its most important evidences: the evolution from simple to complex beings and the emergency of the different kinds of life (vegetative, sensitive and intelligent). In this article, we will first present some general principles developed by St. Thomas that could be of interest in the study of evolution. Secondly, we will draw an outline of De Koninck’s theory. And finally, we will analyze The Cosmos together with some of De Koninck’s writings on indeterminism using some of the principles presented in the first part of the article in order to assess how Koninck’s stance is a Thomistic one. We find that, in The Cosmos, De Koninck emphasizes the role of the principal spiritual cause in bringing about effects which are ontologically superior to their instrumental material causes. However, his indeterministic view of nature that is based on a particular conception of matter conveys the idea that the evolutionary process is the necessary consequence of the essential desire of matter for the human form.