My position on teleology, is that meanings and purposes are evolutionary utilities.
Meanings are parts of the inner mechanisms which animate our bodily existence.
Existence is bodily, not like a brain in a vat scenereo.
God didn’t create reality therefor reality does not have a specific planned meaning to it.

Well-stated, Dan~, even by your lofty standards.

Yes, yes and more yes.

I’m glad that we can agree on this.

This isn’t really philosophy. You haven’t demonstrated anything. There are no premises. Just some conclusions, which I agree with, but still…NOT philosophy.

Reality doesn’t have to be created by God to have a specific planned meaning to it.


If it has a planned meaning at all, it’s someone’s plan. Plans don’t grow on trees. If there is only one plan, it’s the plan of one entity, or of a unifed group of entities. Do you have a better candidate?

It’s philosophy - it’s just not an argument. Philosophy is the search for assumptions. These are big fat ones. Or, if they are conclusions, they are surely qualified to be called philosophical ones.

I don’t, because I don’t think ends exist inherently in nature, but Aristotle was a pretty famous non-divine teleologist. To put it simply (which is the only way I remember it at this point) much like a doctor heals himself, nature makes it’s own ends.

Really? Sure, I guess, but teleology is not really an assumption. It’s as an explicit a point in philosophy as you can have. It’s true that some philosophical systems take it for granted, but it’s not like teleology is a big secret.

I’m not following. Assumptions are implicit perhaps until the philosopher gets ahold of them It’s what philosophers do - make assumptions explicit.

Right, that’s something philosophers do. But anyone who’s read even a little bit of philosophy will know teleology hasn’t been implicit for a couple millenniums. It’s now and has been for a long time explicit. The issue is no longer with whether it’s an assumption. It’s with whether it’s a good assumption.

That’s really all you got from the OP?

No. It’s what you got. You said the OP was philosophy, and then that philosophy is about making assumptions explicit. You sell yourself as a logician, so you can see what follows. Our conversation until this point, in case you’ve missed the point, hasn’t been about the content of the OP.

What I got from the OP, in case you were really wondering, is rambling with terms that actual philosophers typically use.

Wow. That’s too bad, dude.

I’ll be fine.

In saying that reality has no plan - no plain, plane, or planar meaning - Dan secretly underscores for you and I that its endgoal is mysterious.


…when has the ‘endgoal’ ever been otherwise? Goals and actual results are two different concepts; setting goals does not necessarily make end result predictable.

I certainly see philosophy in the OP, which I hope I am interpreting correctly. I don’t see Dan explaining that he is stating a case, he simply gave his position. In the context of philosophy, that is probably a much bolder move than the former.

If you disagree - state your case. Otherwise, just saying “I disagree, this isn’t philosophy” isn’t really accomplishing any more than what you’ve accused the OP of.

As far as i’ve learned, meaning equates to a purpose.
For example, we see rain falling, and we equate that the meaning of rain is falling water.
The meaning is a process unfolding in our experience.
Therefor the purpose is also the natural function of the object.

This means that the meaning of life, is breathing, food, sex, sleep, thought, etc.

Meanings are a part of the evolutionary process that we exist out of.
Meanings are created by our mind, and we project them as overlays over reality, in order to predict behavior, as a survival tool.

This means the meaning is in these things, not that these things are the meaning.

Meaning is dependent on context. Even something as abstract as, say “square” - surely that’s easy, you know what that is without needing any context at all - it’s a shape with equal sides and four right angles.

Don’t be such a square. I’ll meet you in the square, we can square up and have a square discussion, then we’ll be all square.
“… square?” can mean square-but-I-could-be-wrong, or you-really-think-that-that-is-square?
“Square!” accompanied by pointing and a fearful look in the eyes may actually mean “run from the square thing that we fear”.

(Actually, that’s one of those words that becomes more ridiculous the more you say it. I digress. Square square square.)

Nicely put. But I’d argue we don’t project them onto reality, since we project them in context. Whatever that context is, it’s a construction based on our perspective of a situation, not a given.

Hi Dan~ I like the way your philosophy is converging a bit with some of Aristotle’s views (no bad thing!)
There was no precise theory of evolution through natural selection around at his time but he had a strong view of nature as an unfolding of potential directed to goals.

As far as natural selection is concerned it could be said that evolution, constrained by bodily forms and what has gone before (the architecture of a organism you might say) and a certain amount of random drift is a sort of exploration of a phase space of possible worlds.

Further that these worlds are not unlimited in number (for any given creature) - so there is a sort of unconcious teology there without a doubt.
Evolution has direction
(though its not necessarily an arrow on to which you can always automatically put a label “progress”

  • it can’t really go back but it often goes sideways or re-invents!)


Good Op, Dan.
Now the problem with teleology (Aristotle was accused of believing in it.) has to do with how to reconcile our experiences of cause and effect with those of serendipity. Don’t we experience both?

Honestly, i don’t think anything needs to be reconciled.
I believe there’s a concent about reality and meanings, that exists not absolutely, but relatively between all men and animals.
Each race and culture might have their own word for clouds, but we still agree that there are clouds in the sky. That’s just an example of what i mean.