Desire and natural classification: Aristotle and Peirce on final cause

Abstract
: Peirce was greatly influenced by Aristotle, particularly on the topic of final cause. Commentators are therefore right to draw on Aristotle in the interpretation of Peirce's teleology. But these commentators sometimes fail to distinguish clearly between formal cause and final cause in Aristotle's philosophy. Unless form and end are clearly distinguished, no sense can be made of Peirce's important claim that 'desires create classes.' Understood in the context of his teleology, this claim may be considered Peirce's answer to nominalists and sceptics on the possibility and status of scientific knowledge. On the basis of an improved view of Peirce's teleology, the objection that inorganic physical events do not admit of teleological explanation can be answered. I argue that the non-teleological alternative leaves the laws of nature and the actions of inorganic matter unexplained
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Stephen Pratten (2009). Critical Realism and Causality: Tracing the Aristotelian Legacy. Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour 39 (2):189-218.
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