Link to the University of Pittsburgh Homepage
Link to the University Library System Homepage Link to the Contact Us Form

Teleology and Its Limits in Aristotle and Kant

Marré, Thomas (2018) Teleology and Its Limits in Aristotle and Kant. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

Download (2MB) | Preview


Aristotle was a realist about natural teleology, Kant an anti-realist. My dissertation explains why each accorded it the epistemic and ontological status that he did. I articulate and defend novel conceptions of the problems they were addressing and their solutions to them.
Aristotle’s natural teleology constitutes an essential part of his solution to a larger problem: how is motion or change possible? Motion had been thought by some to be unlimited and, therefore, unknowable. If there is to be a science of natural motion, then, motion must have limits. The telos was one such limit. Aristotle often glosses telos with limit, and this association is consistent with prior usage. It was, in fact, one of the three standardly recognized limits, together with beginning and middle—archē and meson. All three figure in Aristotle’s account of natural motion. The archē is the efficient cause, and the meson is that by which the archē brings about some telos. So understood, the telos has a natural relation to the possibility of motion: it serves as a limit in virtue of which motion is intelligible.
Kant’s teleology is intimately related to disputes about universals and our empirical classifications of things. Central to my account is the category of community. Our discursive intellects require that we approach nature as if it were ordered into a system of genera and species. In such a system, the species are parts of the genus and stand together in community under it, thereby constituting a whole. Similarly, an organism or natural end possesses the form of a system and its parts stand together in community under a common or communal ground. They too constitute a whole. But as with nature’s kinds, we can only approach an organism as if its parts formed a real whole: their communal ground is simple and so not to be met with in space. They possess, in other words, a noumenal ground. Consequently, organisms can be explained neither teleologically nor mechanistically, and teleology itself can never be accorded genuinely scientific status. Natural ends can be understood only on analogy with ourselves.


Social Networking:
Share |


Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Marré, Thomastcm22@pitt.edutcm22
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairEngstrom,
Committee ChairLennox,
Committee MemberMcDowell,
Committee MemberGelber,
Committee MemberAllen,
Committee MemberChignell,
Date: 27 September 2018
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 10 July 2018
Approval Date: 27 September 2018
Submission Date: 9 August 2018
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 327
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Philosophy
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Philosophy of Science, Purpose, Causation, Life
Date Deposited: 27 Sep 2018 19:51
Last Modified: 27 Sep 2018 19:51


Monthly Views for the past 3 years

Plum Analytics

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item