Darwin's concept of final cause: Neither new nor trivial [Book Review]

Biology and Philosophy 17 (3):323-340 (2002)
Abstract
Darwin'suse of final cause accords with the Aristotelian idea of finalcauses as explanatory types – as opposed to mechanical causes, which arealways particulars. In Wright's consequence etiology, anadaptation is explained by particular events, namely, its past consequences;hence, that etiology is mechanistic at bottom. This justifies Ghiselin'scharge that such versions of teleology trivialize the subject, But a purelymechanistic explanation of an adaptation allows it to appear coincidental.Patterns of outcome, whether biological or thermodynamic, cannot be explainedbytracing causal chains, even were that possible. They are explicanda of aspecialkind. The form of their explanation, in statistical mechanics or by naturalselection, is not captured by statistical variants of the covering-law model orrelated models of explanation. In them as in classical teleology, types ofoutcome are cited to explain why there are outcomes of those types. But onlywhen types are explanatory by being selected for, as inexplanations of animal and human behavior as well as in Darwin's theory ofnatural selection, but not in statistical mechanics, is the explanationteleological. Darwin's theory is nontrivially teleological.
Keywords Aristotle  Darwin  Explanation  Final cause  Natural selection  Statistical mechanics  Teleology
Categories (categorize this paper)
Reprint years 2004
DOI 10.1023/A:1020173708395
Options
 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
Our Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 26,188
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

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA
Critical Realism and Causality: Tracing the Aristotelian Legacy.Stephen Pratten - 2009 - Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour 39 (2):189-218.

View all 7 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Monthly downloads

Added to index

2009-01-28

Total downloads

44 ( #115,361 of 2,154,063 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

1 ( #398,005 of 2,154,063 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature


Discussion
Order:
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.

Other forums