final cause

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  • noun

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(philosophy) the end or purpose of a thing or process

References in periodicals archive ?
The ultimate first and final causes are of course identical, for all things proceed from God as first cause and return to Him as to their source.
For a body, therefore, which is to be judged as a natural end in itself and in accordance with its internal possibility, it is required that its parts reciprocally produce each other, as far as both their form and their combination is concerned, and thus produces a whole out of their own causality, the concept of which, conversely, is in turn the cause (in a being that would possess the causality according to concepts appropriate for such a product) of it in accordance with a principle; consequently the connection of efficient causes could at the same time be judged as an effect through final causes.
Here, however, is the editor's comment on these words, "Spinoza is articulating the basic idea of his theory of the good, which rejects invoking any ontologically preeminent final causes in explaining human behavior.
This contention, along with the lack of any significant discussion of teleology in Aristotle's Meteorology, left Renaissance natural philosophers with several options in discussions of the final causes of weather.
He focuses especially on the role that Leibnizian final causes play in intentional action, and he argues that for Leibniz, final causes are a species of efficient causation.
However, their exclusion is an a priori proscription of modern science in the sense that it is not the outcome of reasoning and verification, but rather a postulate imposed right from the start: "As for final causes it is evident that their rejection [by modern science] was a methodological principle that guided the inquiry and not the conclusion of results obtained by inquiry.
That is because they function here in a dual capacity: as efficient causes of human well-being, and as final causes of human well-doing (the correct meaning of eudaimonia or "happiness").
Final causes thereby emerge as nonreducible to mechanistic causality: "[they] are not ghostly, as-yet-unrealized objects exercising a mysterious a fronte causal power: rather they are the forward-looking elements of the incipient structure of organisms .
Mental properties, she claims, are therefore best understood as emergent properties of a self-organizing neurological "phase space," with something like Aristotle's formal and final causes embodied in the top-down ongoing constraint that such neural organizations exert on behavior.
It does mean that everything in the universe has a mental and a physical side and, depending upon the complex arrangements of these aspects, shows greater or lesser sensitivity to possibilities, final causes, and the ends of action.
William Wallace examines Aristotle's definition of nature in relation to extrinsic efficient and final causes, and the adequacy of Aristotle's account of nature to questions of ultimate efficient and final causes.
It is panorganicism that allows us to describe the world both in terms of efficient and final causes.
A final section probes Dewey's reinterpretation of cause and effect and his rejection of fixed essences and final causes.
The clarity of this essential proposition fails to cause unanimous assent, in part because "there are no natures and no final causes in mathematics" (p.
Yet surely it is clear enough that, far from displacing a serious concern for form, Aristotle's concern for final causes in Physics 2 and Parts of Animals 1 is a direct consequence of that concern.