Aristotle on Teleology (Oxford Aristotle Studies) by Monte Ransome Johnson

By Monte Ransome Johnson

Aristotle's has been the main influential philosophy within the entire heritage of technology. Monte Johnson examines its such a lot debatable element: Aristotle's emphasis at the significance of pursuits and reasons to clinical understanding--his teleology. every now and then this coverage has proved deeply fallacious, for instance in his earth-centric cosmology, or his anthropology purporting to justify slavery and male domination. yet in lots of components Aristotle's teleology has been profitable, and continues to be influential, for instance in adaptationist evolutionary thought, embryology, and genetics. Johnson's ebook indicates additionally how Aristotle's idea has profound implications for environmental ethics and for the speculation of worth generally.

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431). And since human existence involves the highest end, it is an end ‘to which he may subject the whole of nature’ (sec. 84, p. 435). And if we operate under the assumption that there must be an interconnection of all ends, then man is the final end of creation. For without man the chain of mutually subordinated ends would have no point of attachment. Only in man, and only in him as the individual being to whom the moral law applies, do we find unconditional legislation in respect of ends. That legislation, therefore, is what alone qualifies him to be a final end to which the entire nature is teleologically subordinated.

So Kant says: ‘It is, I mean, quite certain that we can never get a sufficient knowledge of organized beings and their inner possibility, much less get an explanation of them, by looking merely to mechanical principles of nature’ (p. 400). Even a being with superior, but still finite, powers would be in the same position: we can never get rid of the appeal to a completely different source of generation for the possibility of a product of this kind, namely that of a causality by ends. It is utterly impossible for human reason, or for any finite reason qualitatively resembling ours, however much it may surpass it in degree, to hope to understand the generation even of a blade of grass from mere mechanical causes.

61 f. ¹⁷ Phys ii 3, 194b29, Cael i 4, 271a33, i 9, 279a27, GC i 3, 318a1, Meta i 3, 984b15. 15–24; Verrycken 1990, p. 224). It has been argued that later in his career, as a ‘Christian philosopher’ as opposed to an ‘Alexandrian Platonist’, Philoponus changed his position and rejected the view of Aristotle’s god as an efficient cause, limiting it to a final cause (Verrycken 1990, pp. ). See Sorabji 1990b, pp. 185 f. ¹⁹ For a thorough discussion of the translation of Aristotelian teleological concepts from Greek into Arabic, see Wisnovsky 2003a, pp.

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