teleology[tē′lē äl′ə jē, tel′ē-]
- the study of final causes
- the fact or quality of being directed toward a definite end or of having an ultimate purpose, esp. as attributed to natural processes
- a belief, as that of vitalism, that natural phenomena are determined not only by mechanical causes but by an overall design or purpose in nature
- the study of evidence for this belief
- Ethics the evaluation of conduct, as in utilitarianism, in relation to the end or ends it serves
Origin: ModL teleologia from Glassical Greek telos, teleos, an end (see telo-) plush -logia (see -logy)
Used by arrangement with John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
noun pl. tel·e·ol·o·gies
- The study of design or purpose in natural phenomena.
- The use of ultimate purpose or design as a means of explaining phenomena.
- Belief in or the perception of purposeful development toward an end, as in nature or history.
Origin: Greek teleios, teleos, perfect, complete (from telos, end, result; see kwel-1 in Indo-European roots) + -logy.
- telˌe·o·logˈi·cal , telˌe·o·logˈic adjective
- telˌe·o·logˈi·cal·ly adverb
- telˌe·olˈo·gist noun