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Reading group: Robert Koons – Teleology as Higher-Order Causation

Reading Seminar on Teleology as Higher-Order Causation
Thursday, December 10, 2020, 4:30 pm – 6:00 pm

Discussion of Robert Koons’ 1998 paper, “Teleology as Higher-Order Causation.”

“Situation theory, as developed by Barwise and his collaborators, is used to demonstrate the possibility of defining teleology (and related notions, like that of proper or biological function) in terms of higher order causation, along the lines suggested by Taylor and Wright. This definition avoids the excessive narrowness that results from trying to define teleology in terms of evolutionary history or the effects of natural selection. By legitimating the concept of teleology, this definition also provides promising new avenues for solving long standing problems in the philosophy of mind, such as the problems of intentionality and mental causation.”

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The chief goal of the "Meant to Be: Resuscitating the Metaphysics of Teleology" project is to foster intelligent debate on philosophical issues concerning science, religion, and their conflicts and connections. To find out more about this project, please visit its website: