Teleonomy

Author: 
Hennig, Boris
Volume: 
Abstract: 
The distinction between teleology and teleonomy that biologists sometimes refer to seems to be helpful in certain contexts, but it is used in several different ways and has rarely been clearly drawn. This paper discusses three prominent uses of the term “teleonomy” and traces its history back to what seems to be its first use. This use is examined in detail and then justified and refined on the basis of elements found in the philosophy of Aristotle, Kant, Anscombe and others. In the course of this explication, it will also be shown how the description of end-directed processes relates to their explanation.