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Teleology and Goal-Directedness in a Systems Theoretical Approach

Teleology and Goal-Directedness in a Systems Theoretical Approach_Kertesz
Thursday, May 13, 2021, 4:30 pm – 6:00 pm

In this paper Kertesz focuses on the attribution of goal-directedness to biological systems, like agents and even certain subsystems. Classical cybernetics was rightfully criticized by some for not being able to reduce teleology neither to behavioural features nor to mechanisms. First, Kertesz shows that the behavioural approach can be amended so that it can differentiate between real and ersatz goal-directedness. Then he turns to the mechanism side of things and link up this behavioural approach with a new system theoretical view according to which biological agents realize special causal regimes that involve what some philosophers started to call self-constraining systems referring to a specific form of self-determination. If right, it might turn out that the old ideas of cybernetics are not as hopeless as they seemed to be.

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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: