<philosophical terminology> Greek term for the end, completion, purpose, or goal of any thing or activity. According to Aristotle, this is the final cause which accounts for the existence and nature of a thing. Following Wolff, modern philosophers (often pejoratively) designate as teleological any explanation, theory, or argument that emphasizes purpose. Recommended Reading: F. E. Peters, Greek Philosophical Terms: A Historical Lexicon (NYU, 1967); F. M. J. Waanders, History of Telos and Teleo in Ancient Greek (Benjamins, 1984); Immanuel Kant, Critique of Judgment, tr. by Werner S. Pluhar (Hackett, 1987); Rowland Stout, Things That Happen Because They Should: A Teleological Approach to Action (Oxford, 1996); and Ernest Nagel, Teleology Revisited (Columbia, 1982).
[A Dictionary of Philosophical Terms and Names]
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