What’s Wrong with the World

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What’s Wrong with the World is dedicated to the defense of what remains of Christendom, the civilization made by the men of the Cross of Christ. Athwart two hostile Powers we stand: the Jihad and Liberalism...read more

Four approaches to teleology

The debate over telos never ends. Yet more on the subject over at my personal blog.

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The materialist, who corresponds to Shields’ teleological eliminativist, denies teleology. The Platonic teleologist, like the teleological intentionalist, affirms teleology but regards it as imposed by a divine intelligence from outside (e.g. by the demiurge of Plato’s Timaeus). The Aristotelian teleologist also affirms teleology but regards it as immanent to the natural order rather than imposed from outside. As Ariew notes, William Paley of “design argument” fame and contemporary Intelligent Design theorists are essentially Platonic teleologists.

I’ll stipulate that William Paley and the Intelligent Design theorists are Platonic teleologists; and that Platonic teleology is opposed to Aristotelian teleology. It does not follow from this, however, that the “design argument” is essentially opposed to either Thomistic or Aristotelian teleology; for the simple fact is that the design argument is not a competing teleology at all, but, as its name says, an “argument” by which only one position is threatened, the “teleological eliminavist” position.

If, while employing this argument, the IDers make anti-Aristotelian assumptions, this is only because it is an argumentum ad hominem which concedes to the eliminavists the latter’s worldview in order to make the argument more cogent.

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