The notions of purpose, goal, end and function are used (and abused) in descriptions of a very wide range of human, animal and machine behaviour. Andrew Woodfield provides here a unified account of such teleological descriptions and explanations, their varieties, their logical structure and their proper uses. He concentrates his argument on the concepts of 'goal-directed behaviour' and 'natural function', and combines original philosophical criticism with a meticulous, detailed survey of the main competing theories in this diffuse and difficult field.
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The method of analysis
Part Two GOALDIRECTED BEHAVIOUR
Sommerhoffs theory of directive correlation
Charles Taylors conception of teleology
General assessment of behaviourist theories
Part Three FUNCTIONS
Ends and functional explanations
Part Four GOALS
The cybernetical approach
Part FIve CONCLUSION
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action action-type activity analysans analysis animal animistic antecedent appropriate Aristotle artefact artificial function assert B-type basic goals behaviour-function behaviourist believes biological end Braithwaite causal chains characteristic Charles Taylor circumstances claim coenetic variable concept of goal count Denis Noble desire directive correlation entails environment event evidence example exist explanandum externalism externalist fact field-conditions final causes function-statements functional explanation functional TDs given goal G goal-directed behaviour homeostatic hypothesis intention intentional object internal kind leads to G Leibniz logically means mentalistic monads mousehole Nagel natural function natural selection necessary condition normally object occurs organism perform philosophers plastic with respect possible problem purpose question reason relevant required for G response schema sense sentence sequence servomechanisms simply situation Sommerhoff species statements survival T-law Taylor teleological description teleological explanations theory things tion true truth-conditions verb wants whole