Kant on biological teleology: Towards a two-level interpretation

Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 37 (4):735-747 (2006)
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Abstract

Kant stresses the regulative status of teleological attributions, but sometimes he seems to treat teleology as a constitutive condition for biology. To clarify this issue, the concept of natural purpose and its role for biology are examined. I suggest that the concept serves an identificatory function: it singles out objects as natural purposes, whereby the special science of biology is constituted. This relative constitutivity of teleology is explicated by means of a distinction of levels: on the object level of biological science, teleology is taken as constitutive, though it is merely regulative on the philosophical meta level. This distinction also concerns the place of Aristotelian teleology in Kant: on the object level, the Aristotelian view is accepted, whereas on the meta level, as agnostic stance is taken concerning teleology. (edited)

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Marcel Quarfood
Stockholm University

Citations of this work

Teleology and its Constitutive Role for Biology as the Science of Organized Systems in Nature.Georg Toepfer - 2012 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 43 (1):113-119.
Teleology and its Constitutive Role for Biology as the Science of Organized Systems in Nature.Georg Toepfer - 2012 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 43 (1):113-119.
The Lenoir Thesis Revisited: Blumenbach and Kant.John H. Zammito - 2012 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 43 (1):120-132.
Kant and the Scope of Analogy in the Life Sciences.Hein van den Berg - 2018 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 71:67-76.
The Lenoir Thesis Revisited: Blumenbach and Kant.John H. Zammito - 2012 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 43 (1):120-132.

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References found in this work

Critique of Pure Reason.I. Kant - 1787/1998 - Philosophy 59 (230):555-557.
Critique of the Power of Judgment.Immanuel Kant - 2000 - Cambridge University Press.
Critique of Judgment.Immanuel Kant - 1790 - Barnes & Noble.
Kant on Understanding Organisms as Natural Purposes.Hannah Ginsborg - 2001 - In Eric Watkins (ed.), Kant and the Sciences. Oxford University Press. pp. 231--58.
Two Kinds of Mechanical Inexplicability in Kant and Aristotle.Hannah Ginsborg - 2004 - Journal of the History of Philosophy 42 (1):33-65.

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