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Kant on biological teleology: Towards a two-level interpretation
Södertörn University, School of Culture and Communication, Philosophy.
2006 (English)In: Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences, ISSN 1369-8486, E-ISSN 1879-2499, Vol. 37, no 4, 735-747 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

According to Kant's Critique of the power of judgment, teleological considerations are unavoidable for conceptualizing organisms. Does this mean that teleology is more than merely heuristic? Kant stresses the regulative status of teleological attributions, but sometimes he seems to treat teleology as a constitutive condition for biology. To clarify this issue, the concept of natural purpose and its role for biology are examined. I suggest that the concept serves an identificatory function: it singles out objects as natural purposes, whereby the special science of biology is constituted. This relative constitutivity of teleology is explicated by means of a distinction of levels: on the object level of biological science, teleology is taken as constitutive, though it is merely regulative on the philosophical meta level. This distinction also concerns the place of Aristotelian teleology in Kant: on the object level, the Aristotelian view is accepted, whereas on the meta level, an agnostic stance is taken concerning teleology.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2006. Vol. 37, no 4, 735-747 p.
National Category
Philosophy
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-17579DOI: 10.1016/j.shpsc.2006.09.007PubMedID: 17157769Scopus ID: =2-s2.0-33751525770OAI: oai:DiVA.org:sh-17579DiVA: diva2:577126
Available from: 2012-12-14 Created: 2012-12-14 Last updated: 2014-03-27Bibliographically approved

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