Wednesday, September 30, 2009


Teleology: Teleology at first appears to share its etymology with telephone, television, telekinesis, telepathy, and telegraph. All these words employ the Greek root tele for at a distance, but not so for teleology. Teleology actually shares its etymology with telomere, the extra DNA at the ends of chromosomes, that might be related to aging. These latter words employ the Greek root telos for end or purpose. Teleology is the study of ends or purposes, usually based on the assumption that everything has an end or a purpose. Most theology assumes teleology. The alternate philosophy is nihilism.
Borrowing from Plato's teleological ideas, [Aristotle] looked for final causes that explained not only the motions of the heavenly objects, but everything else that moved, from animals and plants to projectiles and people.
A Book for Today: The Dancing Universe by Marcelo Gleiser
In short, here as everywhere else, let us beware of superfluous teleological principles.

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