Agency, goal-orientation and evolutionary explanations [post]

Tobias Uller
2022 unpublished
The scepticism towards teleology in the natural sciences may give the impression that all reference to agency and goals in evolutionary explanations just is convenient short-hand. Here, I suggest that agential concepts may in fact serve several distinct epistemic functions. Firstly, the gene's-eye view demonstrates that agential concepts can promote the intelligibility of evolutionary theories, thereby facilitating the application of those theories to explain natural phenomena. Secondly,
more » ... l concepts can structure evolutionary investigation according to particular criteria of explanatory adequacy. These explanatory agendas admit non-selective causal influence on adaptive evolution, which begs the question how developmental and selective explanations should be integrated. Thirdly, a more radical proposal is that organismal goals themselves can be explanatory for evolutionary change. Such naturalistic teleological explanation is motivated by an explanatory gap left by causal explanations, and encourages development of theories and models that allow the principles of evolution to depend on organismal activities that originate as a result of the organisms' internal organisation
doi:10.31219/ fatcat:6e6yxxp275d3xbcnide5ktpqvy