• Marty
    193
    I can understand what it means to transfer momentum from one object to another, but I certainly don't see why most physical systems work this way — that is like billiard balls. So I'm not sure what your argument against teleology is. It seems to be saying that because things can possibly exist without teleology that teleology is false. But that doesn't seems to be satisfying.

    Nor do I understand the distinction between function and purpose. Unless you're saying what definitionally makes something teleological is intention, but that doesn't seem correct to me. It seems definitionally all teleology is is end-goal activity, or cyclical activity (the maintenance of some cyclical function). So why is it that the body functions dynamically with all it's parts (or rather processes) to produce things like homeostasis or metabolism?

    You also didn't seem to answer my question:
    And how is this done? This "intuiting"? You just see? Non-inferentially? Why is it that when we "see" in whatever way we do, we omit certain properties that're teleological from certain behaviors/functions and not from others? What is it about our seeing that creates a projection, and in order types of perceptions veridical precepts?
  • Joshs
    740
    Piaget wrote that the nature of nature was to overcome itself, the point being that from Piaget's point of view there is no dichotomy between the aims of humanity and those of nature. There is no divide at all. We are nothihg but a further development of the aims of nature itself as self-transformation. Nature is artifice through and through.
  • Gnomon
    546
    "The willful purpose of a single human is made manifest in the person's behavior. We can intuit their intentions from their actions. " ---Gnomon
    And how is this done? This "intuiting"? You just see? Non-inferentially? Why is it that when we "see" in whatever way we do, we omit certain properties that're teleological from certain behaviors/functions and not from others? What is it about our seeing that creates a projection, and in order types of perceptions veridical precepts?
    Marty
    Intuition is sub-conscious inference. It's sometimes described as "the brain on autopilot". It's how we do most of of our routine everyday thinking. It's also how most animal thinking works. The brain is an inference machine, it is constantly creating a narrative of what happens in the environment, and guessing what will happen next. For example, predators must be able to anticipate their prey's typical evasive tactics, in order to be one step ahead of them. Without this ability to predict the short-term future, cheetahs would never catch an antelope, who can run almost as fast, and usually have a head start. Moreover, from experience, the cheetah can infer that the "purpose" of a zig-zagging antelope is to foil the cheetah's "purpose" --- its intention.

    Humans have an advantage over cheetahs in that they can consciously collect data, and then logically or mathematically predict the future state of a system. Such formal inference reaches a conclusion via analysis of evidence, then logically progressing the current state into the "foreseeable" future (via imagination). For example, if a human predator wants to "bag" an antelope, he uses the accumulated data & deductions of previous humans to shoot a bullet that moves much faster than the antelope. But, even with that technological edge, the hunter still must use subconscious inference to know just how much to "lead" the antelope, in order to predict where it will be when the bullet arrives at the same spot.

    So, we assess the future, and make our teleological plans on the basis of collected evidence of how the system in question (SIQ) works (normal behavior). Then we use conscious calculation (formal inference) to predict the future state of the SIQ (target or goal) at the time our personal system is in the right place at the right time. Even then, we must make intuitive adjustments to the rational estimate, in order to make allowances for unknowns and uncertainties (abnormal behavior).

    However, some astute observers & intuiters deliberately omit certain signs of Teleology, because they don't like the implications that the future is pre-determined by some intentional agent --- a programmer outside the system --- rather than being completely random & unpredictable. So, they focus their calculations on "certain properties" that are irrational and unpredictable. Consequently, unlike the cheetah, they don't take into consideration the fact that the target has predictable tendencies that can be exploited to reach "veridical" projections. Teleology skeptics are motivated to ignore signs of certain systemic tendencies that might lead them to conclude that the system was governed by intention. Laws and conditions -- Yes, but teleological intentions -- No. Hence, the "projection" of the future they "see" is missing certain "veridical precepts" that could point to Intention in Evolution. :nerd:


    How Does Intuition Work ? : Intuition is not a bug, but a feature of our psychology. Yet it is part of our brain’s ability to comprehend our territory, inner and outer, not something detached ‘out there.’ The messages we receive are important, just not magical.
    https://bigthink.com/21st-century-spirituality/how-does-intuition-work
  • Possibility
    1.1k
    A billiard ball normally transmits the input force to the next ball without any thought or intention. But if a ball suddenly changed course, ignoring the Aim of the shooter, we could assume from its behavior that the ball had developed a mind of its own. Or that it had been programmed to change direction in mid-course. Such things don't "just occur" without some reason, some internal purpose. Purpose and Programming provide internal guidance to a target.Gnomon

    Billiard balls appear to operate only on a two-dimensional plane, but this isn’t the case - they’re three-dimensional objects. You can make a billiard ball appear to change direction mid-course, by interacting with it on a three-dimensional level. We assume the table is perfectly horizontal, so an unknown slope or dip can ‘cause’ the ball to change course. You can also apply vertical spin to the ball, which can make the ball appear to stop in its tracks or continue on a trajectory despite colliding with another ball, for instance.

    The point is, if you’re only looking at the movement of billiard balls as two-dimensional, then they will sometimes appear to have a ‘will’ of their own, or ‘internal’ guidance towards some ‘end-goal’ we’re unaware of as an external observer. But it’s more likely interaction with an additional aspect of the ball’s existence - intentional or otherwise. The same thing occurs with four, five and even six-dimensional relations - the more we are aware of, connected to and collaborating with these additional aspects of existence, the less mysterious, more variable and more interactive the apparent purpose or programming.

    It seems definitionally all teleology is is end-goal activity, or cyclical activity (the maintenance of some cyclical function). So why is it that the body functions dynamically with all it's parts (or rather processes) to produce things like homeostasis or metabolism?Marty

    The assumption of specific end-goal activity is the argument against teleology. The body produces homeostasis as part of a process that enables us to achieve something more than homeostasis. Just as the cue ball stops in its tracks once it knocks a ball into the pocket - without thought or intention - enabling the billiard player to achieve something more than sinking one ball, so too, the apparent purpose of the body’s processes is limited by their level of awareness.

    Teleology describes an apparent purpose or programming, but I think it really just points to relational structures beyond our current level of awareness, connection and collaboration. I believe Gnomon sees it as an open-ended ‘programming’ and posits a deity (which I find unnecessary), whereas my view is more of an inherent meaning in relation to itself. Either way, I think we agree that there is no definable end-goal as such.
  • Gnomon
    546
    Billiard balls appear to operate only on a two-dimensional plane, but this isn’t the case - they’re three-dimensional objects.Possibility
    Come on, "-billi-"! Don't complicate my simple mundane analogy with cubic possi-bili-ties. :grin:

    Teleology describes an apparent purpose or programming, but I think it really just points to relational structures beyond our current level of awareness, connection and collaboration.Possibility
    If the "relational structures" that cause the appearance of purpose or programming are beyond the reach of human senses, then we might as well call it by the common name for such entities : God. But, just to indicate that I'm not talking about any of the traditional anthro-metric deities, I spell it G*D ( * stands for unknown). For me, G*D is the prime relational structure that I refer to functionally as the Enformer. That's because Information is relationships and ratios. And everything we know is Information.

    The "apparent" program of Nature cannot be completely open-ended, since the physical universe has a limited lifespan. So, in my theory, The End is not completely specified, but is open to course changes due to inherent contingencies. And one kind of contingency is human Free Will. Therefore, yes, we agree that the specific Form of The End is not pre-specified, AFAIK. Which suggests to me that it's the ever-learning evolutionary process that is important.

    Tomorrow I may expand upon the notion of "apparent teleology", but for now, Namaste! :cool:
  • Bilge
    8
    Every human has a desire to learn, to have, be good or better at something; achieve and transcend. The life force in the human imposes a need to discover and grow no matter how it is interpreted and practiced. The purpose of the human is to make the best of him/herself. This struggle goes on against many odds, for both life as a whole and the individual are tainted with social constructions that release many viruses similar to those in a computer. These viruses act as a barrier between the person and his or her 'self', alienate individual from others, from nature and prevent from seeing the real nature of things. In religion, they are called sins. As a result, individuals do not possess the ability to relate to themselves directly. Everything is scattered around. Disorder threatens at every step. The human, consciously or unconsciously tries to organise the disorder. Thus, the immediate purpose is to be a whole again; becoming one's own non-fragmented self. If the individual succeeds in getting rid of all the viruses, she / he relates directly to life, acquires a perfect clarity. That's when philosophy becomes life itself. When every individual reaches this ideal state, they become the bridge between themselves and whole existence. They can light the whole universe like a brilliant Christmas tree, reconnect everything. (it gets harder to explain at this point) Because, through this ideal state, the purpose of our existence is to give birth to....lets call her a deity. Thus, we are the way in which a greater being gives birth to herself. This is a very real, inevitable process.
  • Possibility
    1.1k
    Come on, "-billi-"! Don't complicate my simple mundane analogy with cubic possi-bili-ties. :grin:Gnomon

    Not complicating, but extending - and spherical possibilities, to be precise :joke:

    I was taking the opportunity to illustrate the dimensional awareness that forms the basis of my theory. Gratuitous, I know.

    If the "relational structures" that cause the appearance of purpose or programming are beyond the reach of human senses, then we might as well call it by the common name for such entities : God.Gnomon

    Not necessarily, because I’m not referring to an entity as such - and I find that naming it in this way can limit our capacity to approach an understanding of what it is we’re referring to.

    So, in my theory, The End is not completely specified, but is open to course changes due to inherent contingencies. And one kind of contingency is human Free Will.Gnomon

    Out of curiosity, what other inherent contingencies do you envisage?
  • Gnomon
    546
    I was taking the opportunity to illustrate the dimensional awareness that forms the basis of my theory. Gratuitous, I know.Possibility
    OK. But that spherical reference went right over my pointy head. :razz:

    Not necessarily, because I’m not referring to an entity as such - and I find that naming it in this way can limit our capacity to approach an understanding of what it is we’re referring to.Possibility
    If the "dimensional awareness" is not an "entity", what is it, a phenomenon? I don't know what my "G*D" is. All I know is what it does : enform, create, etc. What does your DA do? :smile:

    Entity : "a thing with distinct and independent existence."
    Phenomenon : "a fact or situation that is observed to exist or happen, especially one whose cause or explanation is in question".

    Out of curiosity, what other inherent contingencies do you envisage?Possibility
    Technically, any effect that follows a cause is a contingency, because, in a randomized system, the future is unpredictable. But imaginative humans can project past patterns or trends into the near future, in order to plan for what's likely to happen --- for probable possibilities.

    Also, some contingencies are totally unexpected, and have greater effects than others. One example is the asteroid impact (literally out of the blue) that killed-off the dinosaurs and allowed tiny mammals to thrive. Was this an accident, or was it a step in some cosmic plan to evolve a bipedal animal with hands and big brains? Looking forward from the Big Bang, such an event would seem unlikely. But, in retrospect, it seems almost inevitable --- at least to those who see Cosmic Patterns in mundane events. Astrologers had the right intuition, but the wrong "science".

    A contingency is unexpected, so it's hard to prepare for. But Evolutionary Programming makes use of the innate creativity of contingency to derive creative solutions to current problems. Scientists emulate Progressive Creation by plagiarizing the Evolutionary Algorithm and the Genetic Algorithm from the programming of natural selection. It's the existence of those directional algorithms that leads me to infer that a programming "entity" or "phenomenon" set the Big Bang on its course to some Final Contingency : the Problem Solution. :cool:

    Contingency : "a future event or circumstance which is possible but cannot be predicted with certainty".

    Evolutionary Programming : http://www.cleveralgorithms.com/nature-inspired/evolution/evolutionary_programming.html

    Algorithm : "a process or set of rules to be followed in calculations or other problem-solving operations",
  • Gnomon
    546
    ↪Gnomon
    Piaget wrote that the nature of nature was to overcome itself, the point being that from Piaget's point of view there is no dichotomy between the aims of humanity and those of nature. There is no divide at all. We are nothihg but a further development of the aims of nature itself as self-transformation. Nature is artifice through and through.
    Joshs
    Whoa! Curb your enthusiasm for Humanistic Naturalism. I doubt that Piaget made such an absolute equation of Nature & Nurture. His opinion was more of an "ought" than an "is", and was intended to overcome the "dichotomy between the aims of humanity and those of nature" that he observed in the Western Culture of his day.

    There was in fact a divide between Nature and Human Culture for 14 billion years. And, after a few thousand years of homo sapiens, we are still learning how to align human-centered aims with those of impersonal nature. In my personal view, Nature has its own teleology, within which humanity may be necessary --- or not. It's too soon to say for sure. At this point in time, there is still a clear distinction between Nature and Human Artifice.

    I don't understand the teleology of Nature well enough to make such a bold statement as "we are nothing but . . ." Yet for my own purposes, I assume that the emergence of humanity --- if not the ultimate goal of evolution --- was at least a step on the ladder. :smile:


    Man vs Nature : https://www.livescience.com/16388-climate-change-debate-man-nature.html
  • schopenhauer1
    4k

    The purpose is simply wrapped up in procreation. People want other people to live a certain way-of-life. Go to work, entertain, maintain their environment. This creates suffering for those who are born, and creates opportunities to what? Deal with.. deal with. All this for the idea of what? Simply because more people somehow "need" to be perpetuated to live a way-of-life. For what? Simply because more people somehow "need" to be perpetuated to live a way-of-life. For what? Simply because more people somehow "need" to be perpetuated to live a way-of-life. Is that not a satisfying answer? It isn't for me either. We should stop thinking that we somehow "need" to perpetuate more people into a way-of-life.

    You aren't created in a vacuum. You were created in a society. You may not think that you perpetuate it. That you are being used. But you do and are. Society needs more people and we convince each other that it is "happiness" that we are somehow bestowing by creating a new life to perpetuate the situation. Rather, it is using them by creating a situation of suffering for them on their behalf..by thinking that they should live a way-of-life, as they certainly will (lest they die or kill themselves). The teleology you ask about is that of perpetuating a way-of-life. You can rebel and stop the cycle of being used for this.
  • Possibility
    1.1k
    Entity : "a thing with distinct and independent existence."
    Phenomenon : "a fact or situation that is observed to exist or happen, especially one whose cause or explanation is in question".
    Gnomon

    Well, it’s neither of these at this level.

    Structure: the arrangement of and relations between the parts or elements of something complex.

    I apply the qualifier ‘relational’ to emphasise the distinction from structure as ‘a building or other object constructed from several parts’. These six-dimensional relational structures I’m referring to are not independent from all other relational structures that constitute the universe. But they are not observed, nor do they happen - we perceive potential which points to their possible existence, and we imagine, test and refine our understanding of the possible relations which manifest that potential.

    If the "dimensional awareness" is not an "entity", what is it, a phenomenon? I don't know what my "G*D" is. All I know is what it does : enform, create, etc. What does your DA do? :smile:Gnomon

    Dimensional awareness, connection and collaboration manifests as relational structure. Awareness of a three-dimensional aspect manifests as objects, environment, earth, sky, etc. Awareness etc of ‘time’ or a four-dimensional aspect manifests as life, beings, events, death, etc. Awareness etc of value or potential manifests as metaphysical will, phenomenon, morality, gods, knowledge, reason, logic, mathematics, etc. And awareness etc of absolute possibility, a dimensional awareness beyond a maximum and all-inclusive potential, manifests as your ‘G*D’, Brahman, the One, the All, the meaning of everything, the ‘unknowable’, ‘radical otherness’ and other ‘God’ concepts and atheist alternatives at a level beyond value - inclusive of ‘evil’, illogical and irrational ‘impossibility’, etc.

    So relational structure is how one integrates information from increasing awareness, connection and collaboration at each dimensional level. Notice that some of these concepts are named in such a way that they encourage a relation of ignorance, isolation and/or exclusion instead.
  • Gnomon
    546
    But they are not observed, nor do they happen - we perceive potential which points to their possible existence,Possibility
    ???Does not compute.
    If I don't observe a thing or event, how could I perceive any potential that is relevant to those non-entities? By extrasensory perception, or pure imagination? Are these "six-dimensional structures" what most of us call Ghosts? If they are invisible & intangible & infinitely possible, how could we measure their non-physical dimensions? :brow:

    Dimensional awareness, connection and collaboration manifests as relational structure.Possibility
    A "relational structure" is what I would call "metaphysical Information". It consists of mental relationships with no physical substance : a Platonic Form or Idea or Geometric Ratio. How is "Dimensional Awareness" different from Physical Perception or Metaphysical Conception? How are invisible Dimensions measured and numbered? :chin:

    Is the concept of "Dimensional Awareness" related to Multiverse/Many Worlds/String Theory speculations, or to Rob Bryanton's 10th Dimension conception, or to Gevin Giorbran's Everything Forever notion --- which, although way over my head, inspired my own website of Enformationism with the suggestion of Time within Timelessness. :nerd:

    So relational structure is how one integrates information from increasing awareness, connection and collaboration at each dimensional level.Possibility
    Again, how is this mysterious kind of "awareness" different from ordinary mundane knowledge gathering? Again, some relevant real-world metaphors might help me to "see" or "perceive" the purely abstract structures you're talking about. Einstein saw the unseeable by imagining metaphorical scenarios, such as riding on a light beam. :cool:


    Imagining the 10th Dimension : https://www.tenthdimension.com/

    The 10th Dimension : https://thetartan.org/2012/11/12/scitech/ten-dimensions

    Everything Forever : http://everythingforever.com/

    PS___ I can grok multidimensional curved space & time in graphic images, but not in mathematical symbols, because I don't speak the language of abstract relationships.
  • Marty
    193


    I'm not sure if those are inferences as much as they are dispositional tendencies occurring in the brain. They are not strictly epistemic events, but I can agree that they relate to epistemic events.

    Either way, let's say that mechanism was there. It doesn't seem like you have some way to disambiguate why certain empirical events are teleological and others are not. You can postulate that one presupposes a mind having an intention, but that seems to be appealing to some psychological state, not empirical events. Yet it seems based on just empirical events we are able to deduce teleological states in at least some cases (that is predicting the norms associated with our behavior).

    My hypothesis is that there is no way to disambiguate the two, and that everything has normative conceptual features all the way down that dictate what things do. These are functionally teleological according to a concept that determines something's content. (Conceptual Realism). When we view organisms we recognize that conceptual content, and form beliefs in accordance with it. That conceptual content is relative, though, so it can change over time. That's why final causes aren't fixed (predeterministic), but moreso a rule that's situated in a context.
  • Marty
    193
    I'm not quite sure if I follow how this is an argument against teleology.

    You seem to be saying there is an analogy between teleological explanations and efficient causation. But a billiard ball moving because of an external force, exerting momentum onto another ball, doesn't seem to be indicative of what teleology is. It seem as though what teleology is is having a certain goal-orientated action behind what a thing is doing, explicated in virute of a concept (a norm). But that seems to be true of everything for me.

    As for the body's homeostasis being a by-product of various processes I agree with you. But then those processes themselves just seem to display organization of sorts, and then in turn, when coupled, produce the organization of homeostasis.
  • Possibility
    1.1k
    If I don't observe a thing or event, how could I perceive any potential that is relevant to those non-entities? By extrasensory perception, or pure imagination? Are these "six-dimensional structures" what most of us call Ghosts? If they are invisible & intangible & infinitely possible, how could we measure their non-physical dimensions? :brow:Gnomon

    We can’t measure them - we can subjectively relate to possibilities, and perceive the potential manifested from this interaction.

    To observe is to look at the evidence in time, the thing or event. To perceive is to understand the value structures and potentiality by which an event is determined and initiated. Much of our education system builds on our capacity to perceive potential without necessarily having personally observed the predicted event. This is how we read music, for instance.

    Six-dimensional structures allow us to take this another step further: to create a potential and value-rich experience in our minds that isn’t related to any particular observable event...yet. Most creative processes operate at least partly in this realm, conceiving new potential in the world by relating perceived potential beyond what we already know of infinite possibility.
  • Gnomon
    546
    Either way, let's say that mechanism was there. It doesn't seem like you have some way to disambiguate why certain empirical events are teleological and others are not. You can postulate that one presupposes a mind having an intention, but that seems to be appealing to some psychological state, not empirical events.Marty
    The human brain certainly has the necessary "mechanism" for inference : for putting 2 and 2 together and inferring 4. But even many animals have that innate ability. And, as noted in the discussion of predators, their application of the ability to predict the near future is self-serving. I'd call that Ego-Teleo-Logy. Tele- means "far", and -logy means "knowledge". So, it literally means knowledge far ahead of now --- specifically, knowledge that is pertinent to me, and to my purposes.

    Apparently the human big brain allows us to extend our knowledge of future possibilities much farther into the future than other animals. But even so, such predictions seem to be limited by the Inverse Square Law of physics : the intensity (accuracy) of a prophecy gets weaker as the distance (in time) gets greater. So, human teleology is not very useful for anticipating events beyond a couple of weeks. The farther-off the event, the more general the picture. Beyond a few years, prophets and prognosticators are reduced to predicting history and tautologies.

    So, Cosmic Teleology, in the sense of this thread, requires a Mind that is not limited by physical restrictions. But, that would also entail the power of intention : purposeful behavior that is self-serving. The OP was concerned with " the teleological paradox: the parts having purpose but the whole (apparently) lacking purpose." Hence, limited human teleology can only serve short-range purposes or intentions. Only a Cosmic Deity could accurately anticipate "empirical events" billions of years in the future. Consequently, our little short-range self-serving purposes can only overcome the paradox by somehow also serving the Greater Purpose of the Ultimate Teleologist --- with knowledge that is pertinent to all. Which is apparently what most religions are trying to do by simply sucking-up to (worshiping) the One Who Knows All. But, their scriptural guesses about the Ultimate Purpose are also limited by the Law of Illumination --- hence, the paradox. :smile:
  • Gnomon
    546
    We can’t measure them - we can subjectively relate to possibilities, and perceive the potential manifested from this interaction.
    To observe is to look at theevidence in time, the thing or event.
    Possibility
    "Subjectively relate to possibilities" sounds like extrasensory perception, or simple imagination. If the "evidence" is invisible --- "But they are not observed, nor do they happen" --- how can we "look" at it, and how could we "perceive potential manifestations"? To me, "potential" is un-manifested. So, again the notion of multi-Dimensional Awareness does not compute for my puny 4-dimensional brain. :brow:
  • Gnomon
    546
    So relational structure is how one integrates information from increasing awareness, connection and collaboration at each dimensional levelPossibility
    Sounds like "raising consciousness" by "opening the third eye". Does that kind of dimensional "enlightenment" come from deep mindless meditation, or can it be achieved by mindful reasoning? :nerd:
  • Marty
    193


    I don't understand how ego-driven activity isn't teleological. And I don't understand how inferences are a mechanism. They are reason-giving, and driven by justification in a logical space of reasons. Why would I believe that inferences are the same thing as casual activities?

    So, human teleology is not very useful for anticipating events beyond a couple of weeks.
    I mean, I don't know why you say that. It seems as though there's a lot of utility in teleology. And even if it was just a few weeks (in certain cases), it just means the teleology changed. This isn't disproving teleology.

    And no. There's obviously a distinction between intrinsic teleology and extrinsic teleology. You don't need intention for a teleological cause.

    My hypothesis is that there is no way to disambiguate the two, and that everything has normative conceptual features all the way down that dictate what things do. These are functionally teleological according to a concept that determines something's content. (Conceptual Realism). When we view organisms we recognize that conceptual content, and form beliefs in accordance with it. That conceptual content is relative, though, so it can change over time. That's why final causes aren't fixed (predeterministic), but moreso a rule that's situated in a context. — Marty

    So do you disagree or not?
  • Gnomon
    546
    I don't understand how ego-driven activity isn't teleological.Marty
    Who said it wasn't?

    And I don't understand how inferences are a mechanism.Marty
    Inferences are the product of a metaphorical step-by-step logical "mechanism", not a physical mechanism.

    This isn't disproving teleology.Marty
    Who said anything about "disproving" teleology. Maybe you have a different definition from mine. I do see signs of teleology in evolution, but I don't have any knowledge of the ultimate Purpose of the process. That would require divine revelation, rather than philosophical inference. I assume there was a First Cause, but all I know is He/r methods, not He/r intentions.

    Philosophical Teleology : the explanation of phenomena in terms of the purpose they serve rather than of the cause by which they arise.

    Theological Teleology : the doctrine of design and purpose in the material world.

    Enformationism Teleology : 1. In Enformationism theory, Evolution seems to be progressing from past to future in increments of Enformation. From the upward trend of increasing organization over time, we must conclude that the randomness of reality (Entropy) is offset by a constructive force (Enformy). This directional trajectory implies an ultimate goal or final state. What that end might be is unknown, but speculation abounds.
    http://blog-glossary.enformationism.info/page20.html
  • Gnomon
    546
    There's obviously a distinction between intrinsic teleology and extrinsic teleology. You don't need intention for a teleological cause.Marty
    I don't know what you're talking about. Please explain "intrinsic teleology and extrinsic teleology". Are these distinctions necessitated by some specific doctrine? Daniel Dennett has a doctrine called the "Intentional Stance" that he uses to counter doctrines of Teleological Evolution -- Including my own. :cool:

    Evolution, Teleology, Intentionality : https://ase.tufts.edu/cogstud/dennett/papers/evoltele.htm

    Accidental "causes" are non-intentional , but also non-teleological : no goal. Intentional causes are teleological by definition : goal directed. "To Intend" is to focus on (turn toward) a specific objective. n'est-ce pas? :nerd:
  • Marty
    193


    Inferences are the product of a metaphorical step-by-step logical "mechanism", not a physical mechanism.

    Well, then, we're just equivocating on what a mechanism is. What's your definition of it?

    but I don't have any knowledge of the ultimate Purpose of the process.
    You don't need knowledge of an ultimate purpose in order to demonstrate teleology. You can just restrict it to goal-orientated functions.

    Philosophical Teleology : the explanation of phenomena in terms of the purpose they serve rather than of the cause by which they arise.

    Theological Teleology : the doctrine of design and purpose in the material world.

    The first and second are interrelated. Purpose can serve as a form or the basis off of what the telos does (direction).
  • Marty
    193
    I don't know what you're talking about. Please explain "intrinsic teleology and extrinsic teleology". Are these distinctions necessitated by some specific doctrine?

    Extrinsic teleology is imparting a teleology through the intention of an artisan onto an artifact. It's direction is proportional to the concept that's implanted by the artisan. The purpose of a factory and how it functions is derived from the extrinsic concept of a designer.

    Intrinsic teleology is one in which the telos is immanent to the organism and it's form. An example might be the offspring's inheritance in DNA (it's form) is going to not be imparted but passed on from the parent. Generally, an organism doesn't have a form of extrinsic teleology that establishes its causal functions derivatively.
  • Gnomon
    546
    Well, then, we're just equivocating on what a mechanism is. What's your definition of it?Marty
    This was my definition of the "mechanism" of logical Inference : "Inferences are the product of a metaphorical step-by-step logical "mechanism", not a physical mechanism." It's a mental procedure or process that produces reasonable inferences. The mind is a machine by analogy.

    This is Google's definition of "mechanism".
    1. a system of parts working together in a machine; a piece of machinery.
    2. a natural or established process by which something takes place or is brought about.

    Here's examples of Logic metaphorically described as a "mechanism" :
    Philosophy of Logical Mechanism : https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-94-009-0987-8_17
    Teleology and Logical Mechanism : https://www.jstor.org/stable/20116567?seq=1

    You don't need knowledge of an ultimate purpose in order to demonstrate teleology. You can just restrict it to goal-orientated functions.Marty
    How then do you define "teleology", without "purpose"? An animal may have a short-term purpose of survival from day to day. But each daily goal is merely one instance of the long-term purpose of avoiding death. The end goal is implicit in the proximate goal. No?
    Telos : an ultimate object or aim.

    We may be talking about the same thing, but in different terms. I sometimes refer to Evolution as "teleological", because its behavior seems to be goal directed. But I don't "define" that teleology in terms of the ultimate end state, which is unknown to me. I just say that the arrow of Time, and the upward trend of evolutionary complexity and organization are pointing in the direction of some final goal. See page 2 of the EnFormAction Hypothesis blog post linked below.

    Teleological Evolution : http://bothandblog3.enformationism.info/page23.html

    Purpose can serve as a form or the basis off of what the telos does (direction).Marty
    What is "the telos"? Is it a reference to some kind of collective human will? Is that "telos" random, or does it have some particular goal (purpose) in mind? Apparently your usage is drawn from some theological or philosophical doctrine that I'm not familiar with. For the Greeks, "telos" was the goal or purpose of a process, not a global mind or divine Will.

    Telos : https://www.telospress.com/tag/friedrich-nietzsche/
  • Marty
    193


    I don't see why using Google's definition is useful when addressing philosophical concepts. You think that Google is going to define mechanism in any way that's analogical to how the mechanists did?

    Nor do I see why it's useful to define mechanism by employing the term in the very definition itself. Particularly if it seems to be only placed in the concept aesthetically. Also, If using step-by-step inferences is "mechanistic" then anything is "mechanistic." Which seems vacuous to me.

    How then do you define "teleology", without "purpose"?

    You don't exclude purpose. You exclude the word "ultimate", and just use "goal-directed", or "purposeful actions" in some way. I believe there might be some ultimate purpose of nature, but you don't have to argue for the uniformity of nature to explain the uniformity of an organism, and its organization.You just simply stipulate that there's a functional end to every organism; you posit that things do things in order to obtain a certain x — temperature regulation, conversion of energy into matter, etc. You stipulate that a organism's system maintains itself, builds upon itself continuously for it's own continual survival, and produces more of itself (being the cause of it's own effect.) There is some sort of concept which subsumes the general properties underneath it (top-down causation).

    On the Character Peculiar to Things [Considered] as Natural Purposes.
    I would say, provisionally, that a thing exists as a natural purpose if it is both cause and effect of itself (although [of itself] in two different senses). For this involves a causality which is such that we cannot connect it with mere concept of a nature without regarding nature as acting from a purpose; and even then, though we can think this causality, we cannot grasp it. [...] In the first place, a tree generates another tree according to a familair natural law. But the tree it produces is of the same species [Gattun]. Hence with regard to its species the tree produces itself: within its species, it is both cause and effect, both generating itself and being generated by itself ceaseless, thus preserving itself as a species.

    Second, a tree also produces itself as an individual. It is true that this sort of causation is called merely growth; but this growth must be understood in a sense that distinguishes it completely from any increase in size according to mechanical laws: it must be considered to be equivalent to generation, though called by another name. {For the matter that the tree assimilates is first processed by it until the matter quality peculiar to the species, a quality that the natural mechanism outside the plant cannot supply, and the tree continues to develop itself by means of a material that i its composition is the tree's own product."
    — Immanuel Kant

    This type of causality remind you of anything?

    On the Principle for Judging Intrinsic Purposiveness in Organized Beings:
    This principle, which is also the definition of organized beings, is: an organized product of nature is one in which everything is a purpose and reciprocally also a means. In such a product nothing is gratutious, purposeless, or to be attributed to a blind natural mechanism. — Immanuel Kant

    Efficient Causation:
    A causal connection, as our mere understanding thinks it, is one that always constitutes a descending series (of causes and effects); the things that are the effects, and that hence presuppose others as their causes, cannot themselves in turn be causes of these others. This kind of causal connection is called that of efficient causes (nexus effectivus). — Immanuel Kant

    But each daily goal is merely one instance of the long-term purpose of avoiding death. The end goal is implicit in the proximate goal. No? — Gnomon
    If that was the case, then what is the theory of natural selection exactly doing? Does it have no predictive power? Because if it can make predictions prior to the instances, then the instances seem to be conforming to the rule, not the instances. The instances are instead subsumed under the concept of survival and reproduction.
  • Possibility
    1.1k
    I'm not quite sure if I follow how this is an argument against teleology.

    You seem to be saying there is an analogy between teleological explanations and efficient causation. But a billiard ball moving because of an external force, exerting momentum onto another ball, doesn't seem to be indicative of what teleology is. It seem as though what teleology is is having a certain goal-orientated action behind what a thing is doing, explicated in virute of a concept (a norm). But that seems to be true of everything for me.
    Marty

    Both teleological explanations and efficient causation derive from Aristotlean philosophy, which attempts to ‘solve’ the problem of infinite regress with the actual external existence of a ‘first cause’. When you say everything that occurs has a goal-orientated action behind it, this is essentially what you’re proposing: an intention that exists external to the occurrence.

    What you’re not addressing, however, is what this intention is and where it comes from. This is where teleological explanations don’t really explain - rather they hide behind the ambiguity of concepts such as ‘goal’ and ‘purpose’ to imply an actual ‘force’.

    I think you’re missing the duality of intention in my description of the billiard ball’s movement. Unless you’re aware of, connected to and collaborating with the slope in the table or spin direction, then either of these effects on the ball’s movement across the table is external to your intention in exerting momentum onto the ball. But the effect of the slope in the table isn’t a goal-orientated action, either, but a causal condition of the four-dimensional event that is the ball’s movement across the table. It’s when you’re unaware of the slope that it appears to be either an external force or a goal-orientated action (the ball having a mind of its own). Once you’re aware of it as a three-dimensional relation to the space in which the ball’s movement occurs, you can allow for the slope, so that the effect is no longer external to the occurrence but incorporated into your action.

    What I’m trying to get at is that what we think of as an external ‘force’ or a goal-directed action points (in my view) to a dimensional aspect of reality that we haven’t taken into account. Once we’re aware of this dimensional relation and can collaborate with it or allow for it within our actions, it’s no longer teleological - there would be no intention that exists external to the occurrence.
  • Gnomon
    546
    I don't see why using Google's definition is useful when addressing philosophical concepts. You think that Google is going to define mechanism in any way that's analogical to how the mechanists did?Marty
    Apparently, the term "mechanism" violates your understanding of mental processes. Functionally, a mechanism is just a specialized process or procedure that produces a desirable output (teleological goal) from relevant input (raw material). If you object to the analogy of "mechanism", would you prefer to think of Inference as "magic"?

    Maybe you can show me a non-Google definition of "mechanism" that will illustrate what your specific objection to it is. I personally don't have any qualms about referring to mental processes, such as Logical Inference, with the analogy of a physical mechanism. Obviously, metaphysical Logic is not a physical mechanical device, but the Brain is a physical computer that follows logical procedures to produce useful information (goal) about the future implications of relevant activities in the here & now (raw material).

    Computational Theory of Mind : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Computational_theory_of_mind

    Mind as Machine : https://www.amazon.com/Mind-As-Machine-Cognitive-Two/dp/0199241449

    Who are "The Mechanists"? How did they define "mechanism" that's different from the Google description of an artficial or natural goal-oriented process?

    PS___I just came across this definition of Metaphysics, that might be relevant here :
    "Bohm expressed the view that "metaphysics is an expression of a world view" and is "thus to be regarded as an art form, resembling poetry in some ways and mathematics in others, rather than as an attempt to say something true about reality as a whole"

    "David Bohm" on @Wikipedia: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Bohm?wprov=sfta1
  • Marty
    193


    Functionally, a mechanism is just a specialized process or procedure that produces a desirable output (teleological goal) from relevant input (raw material).

    I'm not sure if that's useful.

    would you prefer to think of Inference as "magic"?

    That seems like a false dichotomy.

    Mechanism: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mechanism_(philosophy)
  • Marty
    193


    Both teleological explanations and efficient causation derive from Aristotlean philosophy, which attempts to ‘solve’ the problem of infinite regress with the actual external existence of a ‘first cause’. When you say everything that occurs has a goal-orientated action behind it, this is essentially what you’re proposing: an intention that exists external to the occurrence.

    That would only be true for extrinsic teleology, not intrinsic.

    What you’re not addressing, however, is what this intention is and where it comes from. This is where teleological explanations don’t really explain - rather they hide behind the ambiguity of concepts such as ‘goal’ and ‘purpose’ to imply an actual ‘force’.

    They don't "come" from anything. They are constitutive of the object/process/state of things. Perhaps those things come from something else, but that doesn't make them ateleological.

    I think you’re missing the duality of intention in my description of the billiard ball’s movement. Unless you’re aware of, connected to and collaborating with the slope in the table or spin direction, then either of these effects on the ball’s movement across the table is external to your intention in exerting momentum onto the ball. But the effect of the slope in the table isn’t a goal-orientated action, either, but a causal condition of the four-dimensional event that is the ball’s movement across the table. It’s when you’re unaware of the slope that it appears to be either an external force or a goal-orientated action (the ball having a mind of its own). Once you’re aware of it as a three-dimensional relation to the space in which the ball’s movement occurs, you can allow for the slope, so that the effect is no longer external to the occurrence but incorporated into your action.

    Teleological explanations don't work this way. Because teleological explanations don't have the premise located in the conclusion like this. That is, the ball having telos to be orientated towards falling down (due to a slope) because it's falling down. Teleological explainations (at least the ones I'm talking about) are dispositional qualities intrinsic to the organisms.

    What I’m trying to get at is that what we think of as an external ‘force’ or a goal-directed action points (in my view) to a dimensional aspect of reality that we haven’t taken into account. Once we’re aware of this dimensional relation and can collaborate with it or allow for it within our actions, it’s no longer teleological - there would be no intention that exists external to the occurrence.

    Okay, but that's just a claim, though, right? That just because we have things that show up to disprove our projected forms of directed activity doesn't mean that there's no directed activity. It also could be the case that when we have complete knoweldge of the world, it'll prove to be entirely mechanistic but that certainly doesn't prove that it is the case.
  • Gnomon
    546
    I'm not sure if that's useful.Marty
    Would you like to contribute a different metaphor for Cosmic or Human Teleology that is more useful than a step-by-step-process directed toward a specific functional goal (mechanism)?

    That seems like a false dichotomy.Marty
    It wasn't a dichotomy, but an invitation for you to offer a different option.

    Note: At first, I thought you might have some relevant ideas about Teleology, and the Meaning of Life, that I was not familiar with. But, we've been going in circles here. Do you have anything positive to contribute to the topic of this thread, other than negative "what-it's-not" detours? :cool:
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