PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1976:56 - 67 (1976)
The main aim of this paper is to demonstrate the viability and fruitfulness of employing a cybernetic formulation for analyzing many important facets of goal-directed activity, both non-purposeful and purposeful. Unsuccessful past attempts at this program are examined. A reformulation of the cybernetic analysis is proposed which avoids the pitfalls of these attempts by constructing evidentiary tests for rather than a behavioral definition of goal-directedness. This new formulation enables one to counter the most salient criticisms of a cybernetic analysis. A cybernetic account of goal-directedness retains the distinguishing features of teleological explanations without construing them as distinct in kind from causal ones. An empirically adequate sense of the causal efficacy of goals is proposed.
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