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Tagteleological view of nature

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Directed Goals in Living and Evolving Systems

Nearly every action that an organism does is for something.

Teleology is the technical term for goal-directedness, especially when describing living systems. Teleology has been problematic in the sciences because of the amount of hand-waving that teleology has historically allowed. From the outside, it is difficult to tell if something happened because it was intended or if it just happened to be beneficial. Determining the precise goal can be problematic, even if an action is goal-directed. It is easy to construct a story about why an organism does an action, but how do we ascertain whether this story is true? When are attributions of teleology science, and when does it degenerate to mere invention? Additionally, the lack of ability to measure goal-directedness has often placed teleology in the realm of storytelling instead of science. Read More ›