Volume 20, Issue 3, 1972
On the Problems of the Purposeful Interpretation of the Biocosmos
In natural science there is a problem connected with the use of notions of the teleological type. It is impossible to decide, while remaining in the sphere of biological considerations, whether reality which should be interpreted in its final aspect, corresponds with such notions as “organized system”, “directed process”, “profitable behaviour of the organism”, “well ordered whole” etc. It is a question of problems of ontological finality, and not only one of methodology. The Thomist philosophy attempts such an interpretation. Polish Neothomists have been writing on this subject during the last 25 years. Three different points of view can be distinguished in this matter depending on the evaluation of the principle of purposefulness: Omne agens agit propter finem (All that acts, acts to a purpose) Thus:
1. The principle is of universal value; 2. It can be referred to the biocosmos only: 3. It can only be applied when God’s existence is known a priori.
The discussion of these three points of view will be the subject of a separate paper. In the present article the mechanism of concepts in the field of teleology has been presented. Such notions as action, nature, cause, aim, the cause of aim, the principle of purposefulness have been discussed in the formulation of the authors of the three above mentioned points of view.