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26. Natural Theory / A. Concepts of Nature / 2. Natural Purpose

[ultimate reason for a thing's existence]

44 ideas
For Anaxagoras the Good Mind has no opposite, and causes all movement, for a higher reason [Anaxagoras, by Aristotle]
Diogenes of Apollonia offered the first teleological account of cosmology [Diogenes of Apollonia, by Robinson,TM]
Creation is not for you; you exist for the sake of creation [Plato]
Theophrastus doubted whether nature could be explained teleologically [Theophrastus, by Gottschalk]
Aristotle needed to distinguish teleological description from teleological explanation [Irwin on Aristotle]
The nature of any given thing is determined by its end [Aristotle]
It is folly not to order one's life around some end [Aristotle]
Everything seeks, not a single good, but its own separate good [Aristotle]
Eyes could be used for a natural purpose, or for unnatural seeing, or for a non-seeing activity [Aristotle]
An unworn sandal is in vain, but nothing in nature is in vain [Aristotle]
There has to be some goal, and not just movement to infinity [Aristotle]
Everything is arranged around a single purpose [Aristotle]
The nature of a thing is its end and purpose [Aristotle]
A thing's purpose is ambiguous, and from one point of view we ourselves are ends [Aristotle]
Nature has purpose, and aims at what is better. Is it coincidence that crops grow when it rains? [Aristotle]
Teeth and crops are predictable, so they cannot be mere chance, but must have a purpose [Aristotle]
The best instruments have one purpose, not many [Aristotle]
If nature makes everything for a purpose, then plants and animals must have been made for man [Aristotle]
Only Epicurus denied purpose in nature, for the whole world, or for its parts [Epicurus, by Annas]
Covers are for shields, and sheaths for swords; likewise, all in the cosmos is for some other thing [Chrysippus]
Teleological accounts are fine in metaphysics, but they stop us from searching for the causes [Bacon]
Many causes are quite baffling, so it is absurd to deduce causes from final purposes [Descartes]
We will not try to understand natural or divine ends, or final causes [Descartes]
Our philosophy has no interest in final causes [Descartes]
Spinoza strongly attacked teleology, which is the lifeblood of classical logos [Roochnik on Spinoza]
For Spinoza eyes don't act for purposes, but follow mechanical necessity [Roochnik on Spinoza]
Nature has no particular goal in view, and final causes are mere human figments [Spinoza]
Final causes are figments of human imagination [Spinoza]
A machine is best defined by its final cause, which explains the roles of the parts [Leibniz]
We can discover some laws of nature, but never its ultimate principles and causes [Hume]
The sun and rain weren't made for us; they sometimes burn us, or spoil our seeds [La Mettrie]
Without men creation would be in vain, and without final purpose [Kant]
Reason must assume as necessary that everything in a living organism has a proportionate purpose [Kant]
'Purpose' is like the sun, where most heat is wasted, and a tiny part has 'purpose' [Nietzsche]
If the world aimed at an end, it would have reached it by now [Nietzsche]
'Purpose' is just a human fiction [Nietzsche]
The end need not be the goal, as in the playing of a melody (and yet it must be completed) [Nietzsche]
The only human purpose is that created by our genetic history [Wilson,EO]
Science has been partly motivated by the belief that the universe is run by God's laws [Alexander,P]
Chemistry entirely explains plant behaviour [Searle]
Originally there were no reasons, purposes or functions; since there were no interests, there were only causes [Dennett]
We need a notion of teleology that comes in degrees [Lycan]
People are trying to explain biological teleology in naturalistic causal terms [Lycan]
Teleological thinking is essential for social and political issues [Sandel]