Petrov A.V. On the Need to Revise Approaches to the Interpretation of Teleology


Alexander V. Petrov
Candidate of Sciences (Philosophy), Associate Professor, Department of Philosophy and Political Science, Omsk Academy of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Russian Federation
Prosp. Komarova, 7, 644092 Omsk, Russian Federation
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Abstract. Modern philosophy pays much attention to complex self-evolving systems that cannot be satisfactorily described solely by causal explanation ignoring the potential of a teleological approach that emphasizes the expediency of phenomena. The tendencies to interdisciplinarity and closer interaction of natural Sciences and Humanities being characteristics of postnonclassical rationality stipulate critical reception of the problem of expediency. The history of the problem of teleology shows it to be a problem with a damaged reputation, since the problem of total goals has been stigmatized since the establishment of mechanicalism. In the eyes of scientism teleology is discredited by fatalism, conservatism, and finalism, which evoke distinct associations with religious eschatology. Teleology as a strategy of thought is indeed marginal and fruitless – but only within the natural Sciences, in which the opposite of the target causal explanation has proved effective. Determinism avoids paying attention to the problem of the goal – to the extent that it seeks to declare it fictitious and meaningless. In the humanitarian sphere the situation is different, since it is quite appropriate to assume the possibility of their purposefulness with respect to the phenomena of the world of culture. The problem of purposefulness can count on the restoration of reputation, since the target determination in the phenomena of culture makes itself felt no less than the causal determination. For its disclosure the article introduces three types of teleology – sacred, secular and vital. Culture and social reality as a whole are subject to teleological causality as far as they can be understood as narratives. The creative transformation of the world is determined by questioning, tradition and goal-setting, which makes it possible to look for teleological accents in it, because the interpretation of the phenomena of cultural space depends on them.
Key words: teleology, causal explanation, sacred teleology, secular teleology, vital teleology

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