I think that your characterization of Aristotle's (and Pierce's)
entelechy as a process is correct. I think an argument can be made
that this is true of genuine teleology in general. Teleology seeks, in
additional to material causes, evidence for an emergent vital force
immanent in the process itself. It seeks internal final causes not
external efficient causes. As vitalist Bergson writes in 1907,
predetermined teleology, based on a definite end, "implies that things
and beings merely realize a programme previously arranged … As in the
mechanistic hypothesis, here again it is supposed that all is given.
Finalism thus understood is only inverted mechanism."
Kant imagined that limiting principles, inherent in ongoing natural
processes themselves, guided events. According to Alicia Juarrero,
"Kant's emphasis on recursive causality, wherein the parts are both
cause and effect, precludes the existence of a preexisting whole"
(113). And as Ernst Cassirer explains, the Kantian whole is "contained
in them [the parts] as a guiding principle." In Kant telos is emergent,
given in the interactions between parts and the whole.
Victoria N. Alexander, Ph.D.
Dactyl Foundation for the Arts & Humanities
64 Grand Street
New York, NY 10013
212 219 2344
Support the arts! Copy and paste the link below to donate to Dactyl
Foundation using PayPal.
On Jun 4, 2006, at 9:50 PM, Cassiano Terra Rodrigues wrote:
It's been a long while I don't write, but the subject interests me.
I run the risk of repeating everything that was said here about
entelechy, but a look up at the form of the word seems appropriate:
entelechy in ancient greek is a form of saying (as literally as I can
see) en telos echein, that is, something like "to have the end [aim?]
in", "the obtaining of the end" (since the verb "echein" has a wide
In this sense, it is possible to think of it as a process rather than
the final result of the process itself - if we think in analogy to the
ultimate interpretant, it's perfectly fit: although the interpretant
is called "ultimate", it's nonetheless still an interpretant,
sign-process in sum.
Now, the substantive "entelechia" seems to indicate exactly this, as
I can see, in Aristotle: a process of attaining the end (telos), which
should not as I see be defined as a definite outcome, final and not
capable of being fowarded furthermore - because the idea of telos
carries the notion of possible aim to be reached - the final cause is
of the nature of a general desire, in Peirce's interpretation (which
seems a very plausible way to read Aristotle's theory of the four
causes - the formal cause being in the end the same as the final
cause, the material cause the same as the efficient cause). So,
entelechy would be a process of causation, the finalization of the
process of attainment a telos, or of fulfillment of the end, if I can
say this in English. So, it continues to be a process, as I tend to
read it; not the same as before, but still a process.
I hope I'm understandable in this poor English of mine, and I also
hope I'm not completely out of the discussion.
All the best to all,
(from the Center for Studies on Pragmatism, Catholic University of
São Paulo (PUC), Brasil).
--- Message from peirce-l forum to subscriber [EMAIL PROTECTED]
Message from peirce-l forum to subscriber firstname.lastname@example.org