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Teleological Notions in Biology

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[Revised entry by Colin Allen and Jacob Neal on February 28, 2019. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography] The manifest appearance of function and purpose in living systems is responsible for the prevalence of apparently teleological explanations of organismic structure and behavior in biology. Although the attribution of function and purpose to living systems is an ancient practice, teleological notions are largely considered ineliminable from modern biological sciences, such as evolutionary biology, genetics, medicine, ethology, and psychiatry, because they play an important explanatory role....

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News source: Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

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