Liking What's Good for You: Evolution, Subjectivity and Purpose


  • Justin Dominic Gaudry Independent Researcher


Whitehead, Evolution, William James, Purpose, Subjectivity


The evolutionary argument for the causal efficacy of consciousness of William James contends that an implication of the theory of evolution by natural selection is that subjective states have physical effects. This paper explores the contemporary relevance of James' argument. The argument will be examined and some objections to it briefly discussed. Following this, the implications of the argument for the foundations of science and for evolutionary theory will be addressed. Consideration will then be given to how extensively subjective purpose may occur in living nature in view of James' argument. It is argued that the evolutionary argument lends support to Whiteheadian metaphysics and has significant implications for the world-view of scientific materialism.

Author Biography

Justin Dominic Gaudry, Independent Researcher

I am a husband, father and wage earner with a BA in philosophy. I have an interest in Process Philosophy, Whitehead and philosophical positions which challenge scientific materialism.




How to Cite

Gaudry, J. D. (2018). Liking What’s Good for You: Evolution, Subjectivity and Purpose. Cosmos and History: The Journal of Natural and Social Philosophy, 14(3), 359–375. Retrieved from