Teleology and reduction in biology

Biology and Philosophy 1 (4):389-399 (1986)
The main claim in this paper is that because organisms have teleological constitutions, the reduction of biology to physical science is not possible. It is argued that the teleology of organisms is intrinsic and not merely projected onto them. Many organic phenomena are end-oriented and reference to ends is necessary for explaining them. Accounts in terms of functions or goals are appropriate to organic parts and processes. siis is because ends as systemic requirements for survival and health have explanatory significance with respect to the processes that contribute to and constitute them. Reductionism cannot accommodate this sort of higher-level to lower-level explanation and so cannot account for why lower-level phenomena are as they are. Reductionism, it is claimed, is ultimately descriptive and not explanatory because it cannot regard teleological requirements as themselves basic. In seeking to explain them away it forfeits explanatory power.
Keywords Teleology  reduction  hierarchy  intrinsic end
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DOI 10.1007/BF00140961
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References found in this work BETA
David L. Hull (1974). Philosophy of Biological Science. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.,Prentice-Hall.
Andrew Woodfield (1976). Teleology. Cambridge University Press.

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Citations of this work BETA
Marco Buzzoni (forthcoming). Causality, Teleology, and Thought Experiments in Biology. Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie:1-21.

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