Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
Hostname: page-component-5c569c448b-r8t2r Total loading time: 0.398 Render date: 2022-07-04T16:55:51.956Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "useRatesEcommerce": false, "useNewApi": true } hasContentIssue true

10 - Aristotle on natural teleology

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  09 October 2009

Get access

Summary

Aristotle believed that many (not, of course, all) natural events and facts need to be explained by reference to natural goals. He understands by a goal (hou heneka) whether natural or not, something good (from some point of view) that something else causes or makes possible, where this other thing exists or happens (at least in part) because of that good. So in holding that some natural events and facts have to be explained by reference to natural goals, he is holding that some things exist or happen in the course of nature because of some good that they do or make possible. Thus he holds that living things have many of the organic and other parts that they have because of the good it does them, so that these parts exist, and are formed, for the sake of the animal or plant itself whose good they subserve. To explain why they have them, and why as they are being formed they come to have them, one must refer to the whole animal or plant who needs them as the goal for which they exist. Aristotle gives or suggests, at one place or another, several arguments in favour of this thesis. Some of these press the analogy between artistic activity, which is admittedly goal-directed, and natural processes, thus extending explanation by appeal to goals from human action to non-human, even non-animal nature.

Type
Chapter
Information
Language and Logos
Studies in Ancient Greek Philosophy Presented to G. E. L. Owen
, pp. 197 - 222
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 1982

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)
20
Cited by

Save book to Kindle

To save this book to your Kindle, first ensure coreplatform@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Available formats
×

Save book to Dropbox

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

Available formats
×