Science has a unitary understanding of nature, so the relation between 'the nature of things' and 'physical nature' must resolve to an underlying unity. The Greek philosopher Heraclitus expressed this underlying unity in his famous statement 'ethos anthropoi daimon', translated as 'the ethos of humanity is spirituality', or 'character is fate'. The link to nature, in Greek physis, is that the character which emerges from attunement to ethos is entirely natural, and indicates the path on which the person will live. Hence in stoic thinking, nature is one, and freedom consists in living in accord with the underlying unity of the universe.DWill wrote:I would just say that the "natures" in the quoted part and your comment are different. I distinguish, as I think is common, between "the nature of things" and nature in the natural science sense, which is what evolution concerns. I also think the important feature of Stoicism is exactly the attitude toward circumstance that it teaches us to have. I see nothing less important about philosophy in the popular sense. I should have made it clear that "unlawful" means not following natural law. Although evolution does proceed mechanically by lawful processes, some believe that it is led by a force or impetus that is not lawful in that sense, but creative.DWill, what you say about stoicism reflects common usage, but I was talking about the philosophy: as http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stoicism puts it, "The core doctrine of Stoicism concerns cosmic determinism and human freedom, and the belief that virtue is to maintain a will that is in accord with nature." This stoic theme of coordination of will and nature is deeply evolutionary in character.
Aristotle formulated the logical principle of non-contradiction, that a statement cannot be true and false. This implies a self-consistent universe, in which concepts such as nature have a single underlying meaning. Martin Heidegger picked up on this theme, analysing the Greek ideas physis (nature) and aletheia (truth = unhiddenness), to show, in his terms, that ontology is the original ethics. By this I take him to mean that evolutionary nature, in the natural science sense, is the same thing as 'the nature of things' in human life. Otherwise we face the logical problem presented by Stephen Jay Gould in his concept of 'separate magisteria', the idea that science and religion belong to intrinsically separate realms and cannot be reconciled.