I analyze a tension at the core of the mechanistic view of computation generated by its joint commitment to the medium independence of computational vehicles and to computational systems possessing teleological functions to compute. While computation is individuated in medium-independent terms, teleology is sensitive to the constitutive physical properties of vehicles. This tension spells trouble for the mechanistic view, suggesting that there can be no teleological functions to compute. I argue that, once considerations about the relevant function-bestowing factors (...) for computational systems are brought to bear, the tension dissolves: physical systems can have the teleological function to compute. (shrink)
Kant argues in the Critique of the Teleological Power of Judgment that the first stage in resolving the problem of teleology is conceiving it correctly. He explains that the conflict between mechanism and teleology, properly conceived, is an antinomy of the power of judgment in its reflective use regarding regulative maxims, and not an antinomy of the power of judgment in its determining use regarding constitutive principles. The matter in hand does not concern objective propositions regarding the possibility of (...) objects or actual features of certain objects, namely, organisms. It is rather a methodological issue as to the appropriate way to explain the generation, development, and function of organisms. Taken in this manner as subjective maxims guiding the explanation and inquiry of organisms, the principles of mechanism and teleology need not necessarily be seen as contradictorily opposed but instead can be combined in the study of organisms. This, however, is not enough to complete the analysis of the antinomy of the teleological power of judgment. In order to show that there is an antinomy in this case, Kant has to establish that both seemingly conflicting maxims are necessary and natural to the human mind. He does it by grounding them in the ‘special character’ or peculiarity (Eigentümlichkeit) of the human understanding. However, it is not entirely clear just what exactly this peculiarity of the human understanding is. Paul Guyer argues that Kant suggests two different accounts of the peculiarity of the human intellect. According to one account, this peculiarity consists in the fact that our understanding forms general concepts and according to another, in its propensity to proceed from the parts to the whole. I will argue in this paper that Kant puts forward a single account, in which the combination of these two features demonstrate the peculiarity of the human understanding manifested in the encounter with organisms. This account explains the necessity of the regulative maxims of mechanism and teleology, and thus completes Kant’s analysis of the antinomy of the teleological power of judgment. (shrink)
This paper studies how legal choices, and in particular legislative determinations, need to consider multiple rights and values, and can be assessed accordingly. First it is argued that legal norms (and in particular constitutional right-norms) often prescribe the pursuit of goals, which may be in conflict one with another. Then a model of teleological reasoning is brought to bear on choices affecting different goals, among which those prescribed by constitutional norms. An analytical framework is provided for evaluating such choices (...) with regard to possible alternatives. The assessment of legislative choices according to proportionality is then considered, and is modelled using the provided analytical framework. Finally, the framework is expanded to include the ideas of reasonableness and institutional deference, and the corresponding margins of appreciation. (shrink)
-/- Some phenomena within nature exhibit such exquisiteness of structure, function or interconnectedness that many people have found it natural—if not inescapable—to see a deliberative and directive mind behind those phenomena. The mind in question, being prior to nature itself, is typically taken to be supernatural. Philosophically inclined thinkers have both historically and at present labored to shape the relevant intuition into a more formal, logically rigorous inference. The resultant theistic arguments, in their various logical forms, share a focus on (...) plan, purpose, intention and design, and are thus classified as teleological arguments (or, frequently, as arguments from or to design). -/- Although enjoying some prominent defenders over the centuries, such arguments have also attracted serious criticisms from a number of major historical and contemporary thinkers. Both critics and advocates are found not only among philosophers, but come from scientific and other disciplines as well. In the following discussion, major variant forms of teleological arguments will be distinguished and explored, traditional philosophical and other criticisms will be discussed, and the most prominent contemporary turns (cosmic fine tuning arguments, many-worlds theories, and the present Intelligent Design debate) will be tracked. Discussion will conclude with a brief look at one historically important non-inferential approach to the issue. (shrink)
In this article the author develops a framework for a pragma-dialectical reconstruction of teleological argumentation in a legal context. Ideas taken from legal theory are integrated in a pragma-dialectical model for analyzing and evaluating argumentation, thus providing a more systematic and elaborate framework for assessing the quality of teleological arguments in a legal context. Teleological argumentation in a legal context is approached as a specific form of pragmatic argumentation. The legal criteria that are relevant for the evaluation (...) of teleological argumentation are discussed and translated in terms of critical questions that are relevant for the evaluation of the various forms of teleological argumentation. (shrink)
I focus here on the teleological suspension of the ethical as it appears in Fear and Trembling. A common reading of Fear and Trembling is that it explores whether there are religious reasons for action that settle that one must do an action even when all the moral reasons for action tell against doing it. This interpretation has been contested. But I defend it by showing how the explicit teleological suspension of the ethical mirrors implicit teleological suspensions (...) of the epistemological and prudential, and by articulating how it might be necessary for God to suspend the ethical in order to forgive us for our wrongdoings to others. I also discuss whether God’s commands are implicitly conditional, whether religious reasons to act, believe, and forgive are in each case grounded in divine commands, and what role love plays in each type of teleological suspension. (shrink)
Argumentation schemes are forms of reasoning that are fallible but correctable within a self-correcting framework. Their use provides a basis for taking rational action or for reasonably accepting a conclusion as a tentative hypothesis, but they are not deductively valid. We argue that teleological reasoning can provide the basis for justifying the use of argument schemes both in monological and dialogical reasoning. We consider how such a teleological justification, besides being inspired by the aim of directing a bounded (...) cognizer to true belief and correct choices, needs to take into account the attitudes of dialogue partners as well as normative models of dialogue and communicative activity types, in particular social and cultural settings. (shrink)
This paper argues that both teleological and causal concepts are required for explanations of intentional actions. It argues against ‘causalism’, the idea that action explanations are essentially causal. This requires analyzing Mele’s Q-Signals-from-Mars argument that having a purpose and behaving so as to achieve it aren’t sufficient to explain an intentional action. Though Mele’s example shows that external causal interference can defeat the claim that an intentional action has been performed, this is consistent with teleological concepts being required (...) (even if not sufficient) for action explanation. Mele’s example would work even if causalism were true. But causalism is false. Causalism depends on the idea that ‘agents always do what they want’ can be understood as saying agents have mental states, desires, that cause their behavior. But intentional actions involve what agents want only in the sense that actions have purposes, which are not mental states and cannot be the causes of actions. To perform an intentional action is to pursue some purpose in some way. This paper argues that neither the reference to the purpose that explains why the action was performed, nor the causal account of how this purpose was pursued, can be eliminated. (shrink)
The relation of teleological to causal explanations in psychology is examined. Nagel's claim that they are logically equivalent is rejected. Two arguments for their non-equivalence are considered: (i) the impossibility of specifying initial conditions in the case of teleological explanations and (ii) the claim that different kinds of logic are involved. The view that causal explanations provide only necessary conditions whereas teleological explanations provide sufficient conditions is rejected: causal explanations can provide sufficient conditions, typically being unable to (...) provide necessary ones, whereas teleological explanations tend to point to necessary features. Nor is a distinction in terms of intensional and extensional logic entirely satisfactory, although there is some support for the view that teleological and causal explanations invoke different types of explanatory framework. A key feature of teleogical explanation is the achievement of the same goal by a variety of means. Thus its main scientific function is likely to be heuristic rather than predictive. (shrink)
Workforce education forms one of the core aspects of organizational learning which aims for performance as well as efficiency. Learning is goal-oriented in business organizations. Organizations' activities are highly-oriented towards customer satisfaction. Organizations learn from practice and delivery of services to meet consumer needs and necessities. Perfection, efficiency and smart practices define today's multinational organizational culture. But how do the multinational organizations achieve such perfections in their business operations? This paper addresses this issue by linking teleological aspects of learning (...) and practice to performance, adoption of routines, and learning-induced adaptation in order to explain how they achieve "perfection" in practice and operations. Further, the paper attempts to study a particular aspect of organizational (teleological perfectionism) process by modeling scenarios which define goal oriented organizational learning and adaptation, and underpins how such teleological processes effectively benefit organizations in the long run. Conclusions drawn up from an example being modeled in this paper suggest that teleology, or teleological dynamics play significant role in shaping today's organizations and help explain some (or high) degree of perfectionism in their operations. (shrink)
Natural/social kind essentialism is the view that natural kind categories, both living and non-living natural kinds, as well as social kinds (e.g., race, gender), are essentialized. On this view, artifactual kinds are not essentialized. Our view—teleological essentialism—is that a broad range of categories are essentialized in terms of teleology, including artifacts. Utilizing the same kinds of experiments typically used to provide evidence of essentialist thinking—involving superficial change (study 1), transformation of insides (study 2) and inferences about offspring (study 3)—we (...) find support for the view that a broad range of categories—living natural kinds, non-living natural kinds and artifactual kinds—are essentialized in terms of teleology. Study 4 tests a unique prediction of teleological essentialism and also provides evidence that people make inferences about purposes which in turn guide categorization judgments. (shrink)
We shall introduce a set of fundamental legal concepts, providing a definition of each of them. This set will include, besides the usual deontic modalities (obligation, prohibition and permission), the following notions: obligative rights (rights related to other’s obligations), permissive rights, erga-omnes rights, normative conditionals, liability rights, different kinds of legal powers, potestative rights (rights to produce legal results), result-declarations (acts intended to produce legal determinations), and sources of the law.
It is typically thought that some epistemic states are valuable—knowing, truly or accurately believing, understanding. These are states it’s thought good to be in and it’s also said that we aim or want to be in them. It is then sometimes claimed that these sorts of thoughts about epistemic goods or values ground or explain our epistemic norms. For instance, we think subjects should follow their evidence when they form their beliefs. But why should they? Why not believe against the (...) evidence or ignore it completely in deciding what to believe? Here’s a compelling sort of answer: because epistemic subjects are or ought to be trying to know more and following their evidence is a means to that end or to fulfilling that obligation. In this paper I argue that this compelling thought cannot be right. Subjects who are trying to know more will regularly fail to conform to some of our most familiar epistemic norms. (shrink)
When do the folk think that mereological composition occurs? Many metaphysicians have wanted a view of composition that fits with folk intuitions, and yet there has been little agreement about what the folk intuit. We aim to put the tools of experimental philosophy to constructive use. Our studies suggest that folk mereology is teleological: people tend to intuit that composition occurs when the result serves a purpose. We thus conclude that metaphysicians should dismiss folk intuitions, as tied into a (...) benighted teleological view of nature. (shrink)
Placeholder essentialism is the view that there is a causal essence that holds category members together, though we may not know what the essence is. Sometimes the placeholder can be filled in by scientific essences, such as when we acquire scientific knowledge that the atomic weight of gold is 79. We challenge the view that placeholders are elaborated by scientific essences. On our view, if placeholders are elaborated, they are elaborated Aristotelian essences, a telos. Utilizing the same kinds of experiments (...) used by traditional essentialists—involving superficial change (study 1), transformation of insides (study 2), acquired traits (study 3) and inferences about offspring (study 4)—we find support for the view that essences are elaborated by a telos. And we find evidence (study 5) that teleological essences may generate category judgments. (shrink)
As is well known, Aristotelian natural philosophy, and many other systems of natural philosophy since, have relied heavily on teleology and teleological causation. Somehow, the purpose or end of an obj ect can be used to predict and explain what that object does: once you know that the end of an acorn is to become an oak, and a few things about what sorts of circumstances are conducive to the attainment of this end, you can predict a lot about (...) the sprouting of the acorn and the subsequent behaviour of the piece of vegetation that results. Once you know that a rock seeks to move towards the centre of the Earth, you gain some insight into why it falls when released, and why it deforms the carpet or foot that it lands on. Once you know that the rabbit seeks to preserve itself, you can predict it will run from the fox. And so on. There are at least three features of Aristotle’s teleology, and more generally of an Aristotelian frame of mind about teleology, that may induce suspicion. One is that an end can serve as a "cause": as well as the sort of causation we all recognize, efficient causation, there are other forms, one of which is teleological causation. However, this can look less odd if we think of causes as things that figure in "because" answers to "why" questions. Whether or not self-preservation, or the rabbit’s continued existence, or something similar, causes the rabbit to run, the reply "because it seeks to continue in existence" certainly makes sense as an answer, or part of an answer, to a question about why it ran from the fox. (At present we are only. (shrink)
Humans have a tendency to reason teleologically. This tendency is more pronounced under time pressure, in people with little formal schooling and in patients with Alzheimer’s. This has led some cognitive scientists of religion, notably Kelemen, to call intuitive teleological reasoning promiscuous, by which they mean teleology is applied to domains where it is unwarranted. We examine these claims using Kant’s idea of the transcendental illusion in the first Critique and his views on the regulative function of teleological (...) reasoning in the third Critique. We examine whether a Kantian framework can help resolve the tension between the apparent promiscuity of intuitive teleology and its role in human reasoning about biological organisms and natural kinds. (shrink)
This paper argues that biological organisation can be legitimately conceived of as an intrinsically teleological causal regime. The core of the argument consists in establishing a connection between organisation and teleology through the concept of self-determination: biological organisation determines itself in the sense that the effects of its activity contribute to determine its own conditions of existence. We suggest that not any kind of circular regime realises self-determination, which should be specifically understood as self-constraint: in biological systems, in particular, (...) self-constraint takes the form of closure, i.e. a network of mutually dependent constitutive constraints. We then explore the occurrence of intrinsic teleology in the biological domain and beyond. On the one hand, the organisational account might possibly concede that supra-organismal biological systems could realise closure, and hence be teleological. On the other hand, the realisation of closure beyond the biological realm appears to be highly unlikely. In turn, the occurrence of simpler forms of self-determination remains a controversial issue, in particular with respect to the case of self-organising dissipative systems. (shrink)
God demands that Abraham sacrifice his son Isaac. Why? Kierkegaard tells us that God requires of Abraham a "teleological suspension of the ethical." In this essay I explore the meanings of the Ethical, God, and Faith in an effort to make sense of this phrase, and, more broadly, of the biblical story itself.
The ultimate source of explanation in biology is the principle of natural selection. Natural selection means differential reproduction of genes and gene combinations. It is a mechanistic process which accounts for the existence in living organisms of end-directed structures and processes. It is argued that teleological explanations in biology are not only acceptable but indeed indispensable. There are at least three categories of biological phenomena where teleological explanations are appropriate.
Using the language of common-sense psychology, we explain human behavior by citing its reason or purpose, and this is central to our understanding of human beings as agents. On the other hand, since human beings are physical objects, human behavior should also be explicable in the language of physical science, in which causal accounts cast human beings as collections of physical particles. CSP talk of mind and agency, however, does not seem to mesh well with the language of physical science.In (...)Teleological Realism, Scott Sehon argues that CSP explanations are not causal but teleological -- that they cite the purpose or goal of the behavior in question rather than an antecedent state that caused the behavior. CSP explanations of behavior, Sehon claims, are answering a question different from that answered by physical science explanations, and, accordingly, CSP explanations and physical science explanations are independent of one another. Common-sense facts about mind and agency can thus be independent of the physical facts about human beings, and, contrary to the views of most philosophers of mind in recent decades, common-sense psychology will not be subsumed by physical science.Sehon defends his non-reductionist account of mind and agency in clear and nontechnical language. He carefully distinguishes his view from forms of "strong naturalism" that would seem to preclude it. And he evaluates key objections to teleological realism, including those posed by Donald Davidson's influential article "Actions, Reasons and Causes" and some put forth by more recent proponents of causal theories of action. CSP, Sehon argues, has a different realm than does physical science; the normative notions that are central to CSP are not reducible to physical facts and laws. (shrink)
There has been considerable discussion recently of consequentialist justifications of epistemic norms. In this paper, I shall argue that these justifications are not justifications. The consequentialist needs a value theory, a theory of the epistemic good. The standard theory treats accuracy as the fundamental epistemic good and assumes that it is a good that calls for promotion. Both claims are mistaken. The fundamental epistemic good involves accuracy, but it involves more than just that. The fundamental epistemic good is knowledge, not (...) mere true belief, because the goodness of an epistemic state is connected to that state's ability to give us reasons. If I'm right about the value theory, this has a number of significant implications for the consequentialist project. First, the good-making features that attach to valuable full beliefs are not features of partial belief. The resulting value theory does not give us the values we need to give consequentialist justifications of credal norms. Second, the relevant kind of good does not call for promotion. It is good to know, but the rational standing of a belief is not determined by the belief's location in a ranked set of options. In the paper's final section, I explain why the present view is a kind of teleological non-consequentialism. There is a kind of good that is prior to the right, but as the relevant kind of good does not call for promotion the value theory shows us what is wrong with the consequentialist project. (shrink)
I consider some hitherto unexplored examples of teleological language in the sciences. In explicating these examples, I aim to show (a) that such language is not the sole preserve of the biological sciences, and (b) that not all such talk is reducible to the ascription of functions. In chemistry and biochemistry, scientists explaining molecular rearrangements and protein folding talk informally of molecules rearranging “in order to” maximize stability. Evolutionary biologists, meanwhile, often speak of traits evolving “in order to” optimize (...) some fitness-relevant variable. I argue that in all three contexts such locutions are best interpreted as shorthands for more detailed explanations which, were we to spell them out in full, would show that the relevant process would robustly converge towards the same end-point despite variation in initial conditions. This suggests that, in biology, such talk presupposes a substantial form of adaptationism. The upshot is that such shorthands may be more applicable in the physical sciences than the biological. (shrink)
Consequentialism is an agent-neutral teleological theory, and deontology is an agent-relative non-teleological theory. I argue that a certain hybrid of the two—namely, non-egoistic agent-relative teleological ethics (NATE)—is quite promising. This hybrid takes what is best from both consequentialism and deontology while leaving behind the problems associated with each. Like consequentialism and unlike deontology, NATE can accommodate the compelling idea that it is always permissible to bring about the best available state of affairs. Yet unlike consequentialism and like (...) deontology, NATE accords well with our commonsense moral intuitions. (shrink)
This article analyses proportionality as a potential element of a theory of morally justified surveillance, and sets out a teleological account. It draws on conceptions in criminal justice ethics and just war theory, defines teleological proportionality in the context of surveillance, and sketches some of the central values likely to go into the consideration. It then explores some of the ways in which deontologists might want to modify the account and illustrates the difficulties of doing so. Having set (...) out the account, however, it considers whether the proportionality condition is necessary to a theory of morally justified surveillance. The article concludes that we need and should apply only a necessity condition, but notes that proportionality considerations may retain some use in in practice, as a form of coarse‐grained filter applied before assessing necessity when deliberating the permissibility of potential forms of surveillance. (shrink)
In this article, a teleological model for analysis of everyday ethical situations in dementia care is used to analyse and clarify perennial ethical problems in nursing home care for persons with dementia. This is done with the aim of describing how such a model could be useful in a concrete care context. The model was developed by Sandman and is based on four aspects: the goal; ethical side-constraints to what can be done to realize such a goal; structural constraints; (...) and nurses’ ethical competency. The model contains the following main steps: identifying and describing the normative situation; identifying and describing the different possible alternatives; assessing and evaluating the different alternatives; and deciding on, implementing and evaluating the chosen alternative. Three ethically difficult situations from dementia care were used for the application of the model. The model proved useful for the analysis of nurses’ everyday ethical dilemmas and will be further explored to evaluate how well it can serve as a tool to identify and handle problems that arise in nursing care. (shrink)
This book develops an original Heideggerian account of the timespace and indeterminacy of human activity while describing insights that this account provides into the nature of activity, society and history. Drawing on empirical examples, the book argues that activity timespace is a key component of social space and time, shows that interwoven timespaces form an essential infrastructure of social phenomena, offers a novel account of the existence of the past in the present, and defends the teleological character of emotional (...) and ceremonial actions. (shrink)
Here I advance a unified account of the structure of the epistemic normativity of assertion, action, and belief. According to my Teleological Account, all of these are epistemically successful just in case they fulfill the primary aim of knowledgeability, an aim which in turn generates a host of secondary epistemic norms. The central features of the Teleological Account are these: it is compact in its reliance on a single central explanatory posit, knowledge-centered in its insistence that knowledge sets (...) the fundamental epistemic norm, and yet fiercely pluralistic in its acknowledgment of the legitimacy and value of a rich range of epistemic norms distinct from knowledge. Largely in virtue of this pluralist character, I argue, the Teleological Account is far superior to extant knowledge-centered accounts. (shrink)
Theories of content purport to explain, among other things, in virtue of what beliefs have the truth conditions they do have. The desire for such a theory has many sources, but prominent among them are two puzzling facts that are notoriously difficult to explain: beliefs can be false, and there are normative constraints on the formation of beliefs.2 If we knew in virtue of what beliefs had truth conditions, we would be better positioned to explain how it is possible for (...) an agent to believe that which is not the case. Moreover, we do not say merely of such an agent that he believes that p when p is not the case. We say the agent made a mistake, and often criticize him accordingly; we think agents ought not have false beliefs, and that such beliefs should be changed; etc. An adequate theory of content would, presumably, reveal the source of these normative facts about the mental lives of agents. Indeed, it is typically taken to be an adequacy constraint on a theory of content that it help explain the possibility of error and the "normativity" of content. Teleological theories of content promise to do just this. (shrink)
The antinomy of teleological judgment is one of the most controversial passages of Kant’s "Critique of the Power of Judgment". Having developed the idea of an explanation of organized beings by mechanical and teleological natural laws in §§ 61-68, in §§ 69-78 Kant raises the question of whether higher order mechanical and teleological natural laws, which unify the particular empirical laws of organized beings, might pose an antinomy of conflicting principles within the power of judgment. I will (...) argue against alternative views that this antinomy is neither a conflict between objective constitutive principles of the determining power of judgment nor a conflict between an objective constitutive principle of the determining power of judgment and a subjective regulative maxim of the reflecting power of judgment nor does it consist in a confusion of a pair of subjective regulative maxims of the reflecting power of judgment with a pair of objective constitutive principles of the determining power of judgment, but does consist in an apparent conflict between mechanical and teleological natural laws as subjective regulative maxims of the reflecting power of judgment. I will further argue that Kant’s resolution of the antinomy consists in the regulative idea of a supersensible that represents the unity of both kinds of natural laws and justifies the unification of both kinds of natural laws in the human power of judgment. Kant uses three notions when he talks about the supersensible – the regulative idea of a divine artisan, the regulative idea of a divine intuitive understanding, and the regulative idea of an underdetermined, supernatural ground of nature. I will show how each of these notions accounts for the unity of both kinds of natural laws and will discuss possible correlations between them. I will then explain how the unity of both kinds of natural laws in the regulative idea of a supersensible accounts for the unification of both kinds of natural laws in the human power of judgment. While the divine intuitive understanding is perfect and uncreated and, thus, capable of a representation of the unity of both kinds of natural laws, the human discursive understanding is imperfect and created; it is capable only of the representation of the unification of both kinds of natural laws in form of a hierarchy of laws. (shrink)
Teleological terms such as "function" and "design" appear frequently in the biological sciences. Examples of teleological claims include: A (biological) function of stotting by antelopes is to communicate to predators that they have been detected. Eagles' wings are (naturally) designed for soaring. Teleological notions were commonly associated with the pre-Darwinian view that the biological realm provides evidence of conscious design by a supernatural creator. Even after creationist viewpoints were rejected by most biologists there remained various grounds for (...) concern about the role of teleology in biology, including whether such terms are: 1. vitalistic (positing some special "life-force"); 2. requiring backwards causation (because future outcomes explain present traits); 3. incompatible with mechanistic explanation (because of 1 and 2); 4. mentalistic (attributing the action of mind where there is none); 5. empirically untestable (for all the above reasons). Opinions divide over whether Darwin's theory of evolution provides a means of eliminating teleology from biology, or whether it provides a naturalistic account of the role of teleological notions in the science. Many contemporary biologists and philosophers of biology believe that teleological notions are a distinctive and ineliminable feature of biological explanations but that it is possible to provide a naturalistic account of their role that avoids the concerns above. Terminological issues sometimes serve to obscure some widely-accepted distinctions. (shrink)
Teleological explanations of human actions are explanations in terms of aims, goals, or purposes of human agents. According to a familiar causal approach to analyzing and explaining human action, our actions are, essentially, events (and sometimes states, perhaps) that are suitably caused by appropriate mental items, or neural realizations of those items. Causalists traditionally appeal, in part, to such goal-representing states as desires and intentions (or their neural realizers) in their explanations of human actions, and they take accept-able (...) class='Hi'>teleological explanations of our actions to be causal explanations. Some proponents of the view that human actions are explained teleologically resist this. They regard the causal approach as a rival. I dub this position “anticausalist teleologism,” or AT, for short. I favor the causal approach, but I will not directly argue for it here. My aim is more modest. I will develop a serious problem for AT that strongly suggests that teleologists need causalism; and I will rebut a style of objection to the project of providing a causal analysis of acting in pursuit of a goal that recently resurfaced in the literature on teleological explanations of action, a style of objection featuring a certain kind of causal deviance. (shrink)
Many have deemed ineluctable the tension between Husserl’s transcendental eidetics and his Crisis method of historical reflection. In this paper, I argue that this tension is an apparent one. I contend that dissolving this tension and showing not only the possibility, but also the necessity of the successful collaboration between these two apparently irreconcilable methods guarantees the very freedom of inquiry Husserl so emphatically stressed. To make this case, I draw from Husserl’s synthetic analyses of type and concept constitution as (...) well as his later work on sedimentation and streaming-in and develop a richer modal taxonomy than the one Husserl proposed. I employ this taxonomy in an examination of the structures and conditions for the possibility of transcendental eidetic variation in order to show this method’s reliance on historically sedimented epistemic and normative resources. This reliance brings to light the necessity for a methodological critique, which is precisely what I take to be the work of teleological–historical reflection as Husserl comes to conceive it in the Crisis. (shrink)
The idea of integrating evolutionary biology and psychology has great promise, but one that will be compromised if psychological functions are conceived too abstractly and neuroscience is not allowed to play a contructive role. We argue that the proper integration of neuroscience, psychology, and evolutionary biology requires a telelogical as opposed to a merely componential analysis of function. A teleological analysis is required in neuroscience itself; we point to traditional and curent research methods in neuroscience, which make critical use (...) of distinctly teleological functional considerations in brain cartography. Only by invoking teleological criteria can researchers distinguish the fruitful ways of identifying brain components from the myriad of possible ways. One likely reason for reluctance to turn to neuroscience is fear of reduction, but we argue that, in the context of a teleological perspective on function, this concern is misplaced. Adducing such theoretical considerations as top-down and bottom-up constraints on neuroscientific and psychological models, as well as existing cases of productive, multidisciplinary cooperation, we argue that integration of neuroscience into psychology and evolutionary biology is likely to be mutually beneficial. We also show how it can be accommodated methodologically within the framework of an interfield theory. (shrink)
This study examined how sales managers react to ethical and unethical acts by their salespeople. Deontological considerations and, to a much lesser extent, teleological considerations predicted sales managers' ethical judgments. Sales managers' intentions to reward or discipline ethical or unethical sales force behavior were primarily determined by their ethical judgments. An organization's perceived ethical work climate was not a significant predictor of sales managers' intentions to intervene when ethical and unethical sales force behavior was encountered.
It is through our actions that we affect the way the world goes. Whenever we face a choice of what to do, we also face a choice of which of various possible worlds to actualize. Moreover, whenever we act intentionally, we act with the aim of making the world go a certain way. It is only natural, then, to suppose that an agent's reasons for action are a function of her reasons for preferring some of these possible worlds to others, (...) such that what she has most reason to do is to bring about the possible world which, of all those available to her, is the one that she has most reason to want to obtain. This is what is known as the `teleological conception of practical reasons'. Whether this is the correct conception of practical reasons is important not only in its own right, but also in virtue of its potential implications for what sort of moral theory we should accept. Below, I argue that the teleological conception is indeed the correct conception of practical reasons. (shrink)
We typically explain human action teleologically, by citing the action's goal or purpose. However, a broad class of naturalistic projects within the philosophy of mind presuppose that teleological explanation is reducible to causal explanation. In this paper I argue that two recently suggested strategies - one suggested by Al Mele and the other proposed by John Bishop and Christopher Peacocke - fail to provide a successful causal analysis of teleological explanation. The persistent troubles encountered by the reductive project (...) suggest that teleological explanations are irreducible and that the naturalistic accounts of mind and agency should be called into question. (shrink)
A study involving purchasing managers was conducted to test specific Hunt-Vitell theoretical propositions concerning the determinants of managers' teleological evaluations. We extended the Hunt-Vitell model by developing a new integrative construct, namely the desirability of consequences to self versus others. We hypothesized that desirability of consequences affects teleological evaluations in that the more desirable the consequences of a particular action, the more likely managers evaluate that action positively. The results of the present study provided support for this hypothesis. (...) Furthermore, we extended the Hunt-Vitell model by developing a new integrative construct, namely the desirability of consequences of self versus others. We hypothesized that cognitive moral development moderates the relationship between the desirability of consequences of self versus others and teleological evaluation. The results failed to support this hypothesis. We explained the lack of support in terms of the level of aggregation of the data, the possibility of the confounding effect of respondents' sensitivity to ethical issues, and the possibility that deontological evaluations confounded the respondents' teleological judgments. Future research and managerial implications of the findings were also discussed. (shrink)
Teleological theories of content are thought to suffer from two related difficulties. According to the problem of indeterminacy, biological function is indeterminate in the sense that, in the case of two competing interpretations of the function of an evolved mechanism, there is often no fact of the matter capable of determining which function is the correct one. Therefore, any attempts to construct content out of biological function entail the indeterminacy of content. According to the problem of transparency, statements of (...) biological function are transparent in that a statement of the form 'the function of evolved mechanism M is to represent Fs' can be substituted salva veritate by a statement of the form 'the function of evolved mechanism M is to represent Gs' provided that the statement 'F iff G' is counterfactual supporting. Therefore, any attempt to construct content out of biological function must fail to capture the intensionality of psychological ascriptions. This paper argues that the teleological account is undermined by neither of these problems. Failure to appreciate this point stems from a conflation of two types of proper function - organismic and algorithmic - possessed by an evolved mechanism. These functions underwrite attributions of content to distinct objects. The algorithmic proper function of a mechanism underwrites attributions of content to the mechanism itself, while the organismic proper function of a mechanism underwrites attribution of content to the organism that possesses the mechanism. However the problems of indeterminacy and transparency arise only if the attributions of content attach to the same object. (shrink)
Extensive and growing use of electronic performance monitoring in organizations has resulted in considerable debate. Advocates of electronic monitoring approach the debate in teleological terms arguing that monitoring benefits organizations, customers, and society. Its critics approach the issue in deontological terms countering that monitoring is dehumanizing, invades worker privacy, increases stress and worsens health, and decreases work-life quality. In contrast to this win-lose approach, this paper argues that an approach which emphasizes communication in the design and implementation of monitoring (...) systems offers a win-win solution that should satisfy both deontological and teleological ethicists. (shrink)
In this groundbreaking new study, Lowell Nissen explores the use of teleological language in the study of subjects such as behaviorism, negative feedback, and natural selection. He argues that all existing analyses fail to explain how teleological language can be used legitimately, and provides his own analysis in terms of intentionality.
Kant argues that we necessarily conceive of living beings in irreducibly teleological terms, but that we cannot know that living beings themselves truly satisfy the implications of teleological judgment. Hegel argues in response that we can know that living beings are teleological systems. Both Kant and Hegel here advocate positions distinct from those most popular today. And although much of the biological science of their time is now outdated, each has philosophical arguments of lasting interest and import. (...) I focus on Hegel’s case, its philosophical strengths, and its relevance to his broader metaphysical views. (shrink)
I explain what teleological reasons are, distinguish between direct and indirect teleological reasons, and discuss both whether all practical reasons are teleological and whether all teleological reasons are direct.
This paper addresses the foundations of Teleological Individualism, the view that organisms, even non-sentient organisms, are goal-oriented systems while biological collectives, such as ecosystems or conspecific groups, are mere assemblages of organisms. Typical defenses of Teleological Individualism ground the teleological organization of organisms in the workings of natural selection. This paper shows that grounding teleological organization in natural selection is antithetical to Teleological Individualism because such views assume a view about the units of selection on (...) which it is only individual organisms that are units of selection. However, none of the Conventionalist, Reductionist, or Multi-Level Realist theories serve to justify such an assumption. Thus, Teleological Individualism cannot be grounded in natural selection. (shrink)