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Teleological History


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#1 Panjandrum

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Posted 09 June 2006 - 10:08 AM

Does anyone here have a teleogical view of history? I dont just mean the christians, who obviously must, but more specifically the atheists on this forum. If so, is your conviction based on a philosophical model such as Hegelism or Marxism, or on a personal analysis?

Those who dont hold such a view, is it because you have accepted Postmodern relativstic thought, or because you reject the theistic influences that teleology seems to imply?

#2 Pyrotex

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Posted 13 June 2006 - 11:57 AM

Does anyone here have a teleogical view of history? I dont just mean the christians, who obviously must, but more specifically the atheists on this forum. If so, is your conviction based on a philosophical model such as Hegelism or Marxism, or on a personal analysis?

Those who dont hold such a view, is it because you have accepted Postmodern relativstic thought, or because you reject the theistic influences that teleology seems to imply?

Hello. :shrug: I will be your moderator for this thread. :) Please ignore the long, pointy sword. :)

I have played around with a teleological view of history -- history that serves as a "tool" for some greater purpose. But I have given that up. Especially after I declared myself an atheist about 10 years ago.

I do NOT believe that history is random, however, or even undirected. I believe it is often (not necessarily always) directed by a variety of economic, social, biological, geographical, political and whatever forces at any given time. But I do not agree that any of these compose a "greater purpose" that has some "intentional" direction for history to go.

It is enough for me to enjoy history and watch the "show", so to speak.

Do YOU have a T.V. of history?

#3 Panjandrum

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Posted 13 June 2006 - 05:51 PM

Me? Hahahahahaha.

#4 Eclogite

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Posted 14 June 2006 - 06:00 AM

Inasmuch as History is the result of human actions, and human actions are a reflection of instinctive human drives, and instincts are a consequence of evolutionary pressures driving organisms towards survival, then one might, as a scientist, consider history as teleological in character.

#5 Panjandrum

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Posted 14 June 2006 - 08:59 AM

An interesting position. I see it in almost the opposite sense, that history is a moving away from human needs and a denial of our evolution. While I harbour no illusions about a perfect 'Golden Age', I would otherwise tend to agree with the Greek writers who lamented the decline of human society over time. As such, I suppose I hold an anti-teleological view of history.

#6 Pyrotex

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Posted 14 June 2006 - 09:49 AM

Inasmuch as History is the result of human actions, and human actions are a reflection of instinctive human drives, and instincts are a consequence of evolutionary pressures driving organisms towards survival, then one might, as a scientist, consider history as teleological in character.

Trouble is, though apparently plausible, this doesn't quite work. "teleo" means purpose and assumes a "purposer" a conscious entity--(unless I'm totally mistaken, of course). Evolutionary pressures may drive our historical changes, but IT is not a sentient entity with a purpose.

#7 Eclogite

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Posted 16 June 2006 - 03:43 PM

Trouble is, though apparently plausible, this doesn't quite work. "teleo" means purpose and assumes a "purposer" a conscious entity--(unless I'm totally mistaken, of course). .

You appear to be half totally mistaken.:cocktail:

Teleology may be thought to focus more on Final Cause, or purpose. This Final Cause may be extrinsic, directed by an external intelligence or force; or intrinsic, directed by aspects of the entity that benefits from the final cause.

The extrinsic finality matches your point above. However, I was referencing the intrinsic finality, in which it is perfectly proper to recognise that aspects, let us call them emergent properties, of matter and energy, will favour change in the direction of greater complexity. One might wish to call this tautological teleology.:rolleyes: