In Defense of Teleology

  • Ragnar Granit


The bad reputation teleological thinking enjoys in many circles may perhaps be traceable to its metaphysical history. As a young man with some interest in philosophy I was taught that there are two metaphysical variants of teleology, the transcendental form which saw in it a divine law, and the immanent form which regarded purposiveness as one of Nature’s inherent principles of design. I daresay that many scientists would have been willing to accept immanent teleology on its merits had it not been for the fact that it failed to provide a causal explanation and thus had no predictive value. The current scientific explanation is based on a causal relation between events A and B of such a nature that, knowing A one can predict that B will occur.


Firing Rate Recurrent Inhibition Tonic Firing Teleological Explanation Alpha Motoneurones 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin · Heidelberg 1972

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ragnar Granit
    • 1
  1. 1.Karolinska InstitutetThe Nobel Institute for NeurophysiologyStockholm 60Sweden

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