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Title page for ETD etd-01222004-210357


Type of Document Dissertation
Author Mirus, Christopher V.
Author's Email Address cmirus@nd.edu
URN etd-01222004-210357
Title Aristotle's Teleology and Modern Mechanics
Degree Doctor of Philosophy
Department History and Philosophy of Science
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Michael J. Loux Committee Co-Chair
Phillip R. Sloan Committee Co-Chair
Keywords
  • motion
  • metaphysics
  • laws of nature
Date of Defense 2003-11-17
Availability unrestricted
Abstract
This dissertation addresses teleology in the writings of Aristotle and in relation to modern mechanics. In chapters one through three, I argue that Aristotle’s teleology is theoretically grounded in the claim that both as an explanatory and as a causal factor, actuality is prior to potentiality. As actualities, therefore, both form and function are prior to the material and efficient causes that condition their occurrence in nature. In chapters four and five, I then consider the recent “systems” or “cybernetic” view of goal-directedness, along with some basic features of mechanical systems and laws more generally, in light of Aristotle’s teleology. I conclude that from an Aristotelian point of view there is no conflict between teleological and mechanical approaches to nature.
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