Saturday, August 22, 2015

teleology

A teleology is any philosophical account that holds that final causes exist in nature, meaning that, analogous to purposes found in human actions, nature inherently tends toward definite ends. The adjective "teleological" has a broader usage, for example in discussions where particular ethical theories or types of computer programs are sometimes described as teleological because they involve aiming at goals.
Teleology was explored by Plato and Aristotle, by Saint Anselm during the 11th century AD, and later by Carl Jung and Immanuel Kant in his Critique of Judgment. It was fundamental to the speculative philosophy of Hegel.
A thing, process, or action is teleological when it is for the sake of an end, i.e., a telos or final cause. In general, it may be said that there are two types of final causes, which may be called intrinsic finality and extrinsic finality.
  • A thing or action has an extrinsic finality when it is for the sake of something external to itself. In a way, people exhibit extrinsic finality when they seek the happiness of a child. If the external thing had not existed that action would not display finality.
  • A thing or action has an intrinsic finality when it is for none other than its own sake. For example, one might try to be happy simply for the sake of being happy, and not for the sake of anything outside of that.

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