Teleology is the belief that some things happen, or exist for the sake of other things. It is the belief that, for example, salmon swim upstream in order to spawn, and that bears have claws for the sake of catching fish. This volume takes up the intuitive yet puzzling concept of teleology as it has been treated by philosophers from ancient times to the present day. It includes nine main chapters centered on the treatment of teleology in Plato, Aristotle, the Islamic medieval tradition, the Jewish medieval tradition, the Latin medieval tradition, the early modern era, Kant, Hegel, and contemporary philosophy. Each chapter probes central questions such as: is teleology inherent in its subjects or is it imposed on them from the outside? Does teleology necessarily involve intentionality, that is, a subject's cognizing some end, goal, or purpose? What is the scope of teleology? Is it, for example, applicable to elements and animals, or only to rational beings? Finally, is teleology explanatory? When we say that salmon swim upstream in order to spawn, have we explained why they swim upstream? When we say that bears have claws for catching fish, have we explained why bears have claws? The philosophical discussions of the main chapters are enlivened and contextualized by four reflection pieces exploring the implications of teleology in medicine, art, poetry, and music.
Table of Contents
Introduction - Jeffrey K. McDonough1. Plato's Teleology - Thomas Kjeller Johansen2. Teleology in Aristotle - Mariska LeunissenReflection I: Teleology and Function in Galenic Anatomy - Patricia Marechal3. Avicenna on Teleology: Final Causation and Goodness - Kara Richardson4. Teleology in the Later Middle Ages - Robert PasnauReflection II: Teleology in Cimabue's Apocalypse Murals at Assisi - Holly Flora5. Teleology in Jewish Philosophy: Early Talmudists to Spinoza - Yitzhak Melamed6. Not Dead Yet: Teleology and the "Scientific Revolution" - Jeffrey McDonoughReflection III: The End of Poetry: Teleology in Philip Sidney's Sonnets - Kathryn Murphy 7. "The Revised Method of Physico-Theology": Kant's Reformed Teleology - Paul Guyer8. Hegel: The Reality and Priority of Immanent Teleology - James KreinesReflection IV: Decoding the Teleology of Jazz - Anna Harwell Celenza9. Contemporary Teleology - Patrick Forber