Evolution: Teleology or chance? [Book Review]

Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 22 (1):133-141 (1991)
  Copy   BIBTEX


Revaluation of the problem of natural teleology seems an important precondition for elucidating our environmental crisis and for formulating an 'econological ethics', because it calls for a recognition of an intrinsic value in nature and organisms. Therefore, it is necessary to show that the concept of natural teleology is not in contradiction with scientific theories, in particular not with the theory of evolution. In this paper I shall argue that there is a fundamental misunderstanding about the concepts of teleology and chance in modern thinking. This as a result of a radical transformation of the Aristotelian concept of teleology by Christian theologians during the Middle Ages. This confusion resulted in the rejection of teleology from evolution and in an exaggeration of the role of chance. However, not a solution for the problem of teleology is given here, but only an attempt to prove that neither the fossil-record, nor the role of chance in evolution can give adequate arguments for the negation of teleology in evolution. That is not to say that, therefore there exists teleology in evolution, but the problem of teleology in nature cannot, be solved by the scientific theory of evolution, but only be elucidated by philosophical analysis. At the end of the paper it is argued that teleology must be rather presupposed in evolution



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 74,594

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

A Kantian Stance on Teleology in Biology.Alix A. Cohen - 2007 - South African Journal of Philosophy 26 (2):109 - 121.
Kant, Teleology, and Evolution.Daniel Kolb - 1992 - Synthese 91 (1-2):9 - 28.
The Role of Teleonomy in Evolution.Grace A. De Laguna - 1962 - Philosophy of Science 29 (2):117 - 131.
Teleology.Andrew Woodfield - 1976 - Cambridge University Press.
Kant on Biological Teleology: Towards a Two-Level Interpretation.Marcel Quarfood - 2006 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 37 (4):735-747.
The Irony of Chance: On Aristotle’s Physics B, 4-6.Pascal Massie - 2003 - International Philosophical Quarterly 43 (1):15-28.


Added to PP

77 (#155,817)

6 months
2 (#278,494)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Citations of this work

No citations found.

Add more citations