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Teleology

(3,738 words)

Author(s): Evers, Dirk | Hewlett, Martinez J. | Angehrn, Emil | Herms, Eilert
[German Version] I. The Concept The word teleologia was a neologism coined in 1728 by C. Wolff ( Philosophia rationalis sive logica, 1728, §85) to denote the domain of natural philosophy that explains things on the basis of their end (Gk τέλος/ télos, “end, goal”; Ends and means); it was soon borrowed by other languages. In substance, however, the concept had an extensive prehistory. In the work of Aristotle, examination of phenomena on the basis of their “for-the-sake-of-which” (οὗ ἕνεκα/ hoú héneka) was one of the four forms of causality, which the Latin Middle Ages called causa finalis: …

Teleonomy

(502 words)

Author(s): Hewlett, Martinez J.
[German Version] C.R. Darwin did not deny the existence of design in nature. In fact, it was the obvious ¶ presence of design that inspired his work. He wondered what the source of it could be. His answer, in contrast to the natural theology of W. Paley, was that all of …

Chance

(1,102 words)

Author(s): Hewlett, Martinez J. | Wegter-McNelly, Kirk
[German Version] I. Biology – II. Physics I. Biology 1. Randomness The pre-Darwinian view of the biological world had no place for concepts such as randomness and chance. Living creatures were considered to have been purposefully created by the Creator (Creation). Even the physical world as strictly presented by I. Newton was deterministic and hence ultimately predictable (Determinism and indeterminism). Randomness as such, however, is more a mathematical concept than a physical one. In the age of cybernetics, a different approach to randomnes…