Consequence etiology and biological teleology in Aristotle and Darwin

Aristotle’s biological teleology is rooted in an epigenetic account of reproduction. As such, it is best interpreted by consequence etiology. I support this claim by citing the capacity of consequence etiology’s key distinctions to explain Aristotle’s opposition to Empedocles. There are implications for the relation between ancient and modern biology. The analysis reveals that in an important respect Darwin’s account of adaptation is closer to Aristotle’s than to Empedocles’s. They both rely on consequence etiological considerations to evade attributing the purposiveness of organisms to chance. Two implications follow: Darwinian explanations of adaptation are as teleological as Aristotle’s, albeit differently; and these differences show how deeply resistant Aristotle’s version of biological teleology is to descent from a common ancestor
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1016/j.shpsc.2008.09.001
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 16,667
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA
Robert C. Cummins (1975). Functional Analysis. Journal of Philosophy 72 (November):741-64.
John M. Cooper (1982). Aristotle on Natural Teleology. In M. Schofield & M. C. Nussbaum (eds.), Language and Logos. Cambridge University Press 197--222.
James G. Lennox (1993). Darwin Was a Teleologist. Biology and Philosophy 8 (4):409-421.

View all 17 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

51 ( #67,351 of 1,727,288 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

2 ( #264,055 of 1,727,288 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.