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Not directly. Aristotle's final causes are forms that an artifact or a living organism are supposed to achieve when fully developed. Variational principle in optics, on the other hand, applies not to the light's destination, but to the path it takes to get there. To fit it into Aristotle's scheme one needs an extra "time" dimension in which light's path "evolves" into the optimal one. Aristotle entertained no such fancy. And since variational principles prescribe the exact path light (or other system) must take they cipher Aristotle's efficient causes, not his final ones. However, in a way medieval scholasts did have an extra dimension in the logical progression from God to the creation, albeit collapsed into a single step. So God's design could be seen as the final cause explaining the economy of nature, just like features of an artifact are explained by its final cause, the creator's design.

But with a single created world connection to optimality is tenuous, optimal is only such compared to non-optimal. Heron's observation was essentially overlooked by scholasts, and only resurfaced when Fermat generalized it. Variational principles of physics stem not from Aristotle's teleological intuitions, but from Leibniz's modal ones, whose motivation came not from economy of nature but from theodicy. Leibniz did have medieval predecessors, explicitly cited in his Theodicy. Duns Scotus asserted that God had many alternative chains of events to choose from, and Molina even inserted an intermediate step between God's essence and the act of creation, the so-called middle knowledge. In it God saw "what each such will would do... were it to be placed in this or that or indeed in infinitely many orders of things". In orders of things one easily recognizes possible worlds, but Leibniz added a missing key ingredient. God did not just choose this particular world for inscrutable divine reasons, he chose the best of possible worlds, and our reason is capable of discerning the signs of this bestness. MaupertuisMaupertuis' original formulation of the least action principle bears the hallmarks of trying to fulfill this task.

Alas, it was not to be. We now know that light, and other systems, need not minimize action even locally, they might also maximize it, or just follow a stationary path that neither minimizes nor maximizes. In quantum theory light follows all possible paths, and interferes with itself to produce a probability distribution clustering around stationary paths. So while variational functionals proved to be a lasting presence in fundamental physics, optimality did not.

Not directly. Aristotle's final causes are forms that an artifact or a living organism are supposed to achieve when fully developed. Variational principle in optics, on the other hand, applies not to the light's destination, but to the path it takes to get there. To fit it into Aristotle's scheme one needs an extra "time" dimension in which light's path "evolves" into the optimal one. Aristotle entertained no such fancy. And since variational principles prescribe the exact path light (or other system) must take they cipher Aristotle's efficient causes, not his final ones. However, in a way medieval scholasts did have an extra dimension in the logical progression from God to the creation, albeit collapsed into a single step. So God's design could be seen as the final cause explaining the economy of nature, just like features of an artifact are explained by its final cause, the creator's design.

But with a single created world connection to optimality is tenuous, optimal is only such compared to non-optimal. Heron's observation was essentially overlooked by scholasts, and only resurfaced when Fermat generalized it. Variational principles of physics stem not from Aristotle's teleological intuitions, but from Leibniz's modal ones, whose motivation came not from economy of nature but from theodicy. Leibniz did have medieval predecessors, explicitly cited in his Theodicy. Duns Scotus asserted that God had many alternative chains of events to choose from, and Molina even inserted an intermediate step between God's essence and the act of creation, the so-called middle knowledge. In it God saw "what each such will would do... were it to be placed in this or that or indeed in infinitely many orders of things". In orders of things one easily recognizes possible worlds, but Leibniz added a missing key ingredient. God did not just choose this particular world for inscrutable divine reasons, he chose the best of possible worlds, and our reason is capable of discerning the signs of this bestness. Maupertuis original formulation of the least action principle bears the hallmarks of trying to fulfill this task.

Alas, it was not to be. We now know that light, and other systems, need not minimize action even locally, they might also maximize it, or just follow a stationary path that neither minimizes nor maximizes. In quantum theory light follows all possible paths, and interferes with itself to produce a probability distribution clustering around stationary paths. So while variational functionals proved to be a lasting presence in fundamental physics, optimality did not.

Not directly. Aristotle's final causes are forms that an artifact or a living organism are supposed to achieve when fully developed. Variational principle in optics, on the other hand, applies not to the light's destination, but to the path it takes to get there. To fit it into Aristotle's scheme one needs an extra "time" dimension in which light's path "evolves" into the optimal one. Aristotle entertained no such fancy. And since variational principles prescribe the exact path light (or other system) must take they cipher Aristotle's efficient causes, not his final ones. However, in a way medieval scholasts did have an extra dimension in the logical progression from God to the creation, albeit collapsed into a single step. So God's design could be seen as the final cause explaining the economy of nature, just like features of an artifact are explained by its final cause, the creator's design.

But with a single created world connection to optimality is tenuous, optimal is only such compared to non-optimal. Heron's observation was essentially overlooked by scholasts, and only resurfaced when Fermat generalized it. Variational principles of physics stem not from Aristotle's teleological intuitions, but from Leibniz's modal ones, whose motivation came not from economy of nature but from theodicy. Leibniz did have medieval predecessors, explicitly cited in his Theodicy. Duns Scotus asserted that God had many alternative chains of events to choose from, and Molina even inserted an intermediate step between God's essence and the act of creation, the so-called middle knowledge. In it God saw "what each such will would do... were it to be placed in this or that or indeed in infinitely many orders of things". In orders of things one easily recognizes possible worlds, but Leibniz added a missing key ingredient. God did not just choose this particular world for inscrutable divine reasons, he chose the best of possible worlds, and our reason is capable of discerning the signs of this bestness. Maupertuis' original formulation of the least action principle bears the hallmarks of trying to fulfill this task.

Alas, it was not to be. We now know that light, and other systems, need not minimize action even locally, they might also maximize it, or just follow a stationary path that neither minimizes nor maximizes. In quantum theory light follows all possible paths, and interferes with itself to produce a probability distribution clustering around stationary paths. So while variational functionals proved to be a lasting presence in fundamental physics, optimality did not.

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Not directly. Aristotle's final causes are forms that an artifact or a living organism are supposed to achieve when fully developed. Variational principle in optics, on the other hand, applies not to the light's destination, but to the path it takes to get there. To fit it into Aristotle's scheme one needs an extra "time" dimension in which light's path "evolves" into the optimal one. Aristotle entertained no such fancy. And since variational principles prescribe the exact path light (or other system) must take they cipher Aristotle's efficient causes, not his final ones. However, in a way medieval scholasts did have an extra dimension in the logical progression from God to the creation, albeit collapsed into a single step. So God's design could be seen as the final cause explaining the economy of nature, just like features of an artifact are explained by its final cause, the creator's design.

But with a single created world connection to optimality is tenuous, optimal is only such compared to non-optimal. Heron's observation was essentially overlooked by scholasts, and only resurfaced when Fermat generalized it. Variational principles of physics stem not from Aristotle's teleological intuitions, but from Leibniz's modal ones, whose motivation came not from economy of nature but from theodicy. Heron's observation was essentially overlooked by scholastsLeibniz did have medieval predecessors, explicitly cited in his Theodicy. Duns Scotus asserted that God had many alternative chains of events to choose from, and only resurfaced when Fermat generalizedMolina even inserted an intermediate step between God's essence and the act of creation, the so-called middle knowledge. In it God saw "what each such will would do... were it to be placed in this or that or indeed in infinitely many orders of things". MaupertuisIn orders of things one easily recognizes possible worlds, but Leibniz added a missing key ingredient. God did not just choose this particular world for inscrutable divine reasons, he chose the best of possible worlds, and our reason is capable of discerning the signs of this bestness. Maupertuis original formulation of the least action principle bears the hallmarks of Leibniz's "best of possible worlds"trying to fulfill this task. Of course

Alas, it was not to be. We now know that light, and other systems, need not minimize action even locally, they might also maximize it, or just follow a stationary path that neither minimizes nor maximizes. In quantum theory light follows all possible paths, and interferes with itself to produce a probability distribution clustering around stationary paths. So while variational functionals proved to be a lasting presence in fundamental physics, optimality did not.

Not directly. Aristotle's final causes are forms that an artifact or a living organism are supposed to achieve when fully developed. Variational principle in optics, on the other hand, applies not to the light's destination, but to the path it takes to get there. To fit it into Aristotle's scheme one needs an extra "time" dimension in which light's path "evolves" into the optimal one. Aristotle entertained no such fancy. And since variational principles prescribe the exact path light (or other system) must take they cipher Aristotle's efficient causes, not his final ones. However, in a way medieval scholasts did have an extra dimension in the logical progression from God to the creation, albeit collapsed into a single step. So God's design could be seen as the final cause explaining the economy of nature, just like features of an artifact are explained by its final cause, the creator's design.

But with a single created world connection to optimality is tenuous, optimal is only such compared to non-optimal. Variational principles of physics stem not from Aristotle's teleological intuitions, but from Leibniz's modal ones. Heron's observation was essentially overlooked by scholasts, and only resurfaced when Fermat generalized it. Maupertuis original formulation of the least action principle bears the hallmarks of Leibniz's "best of possible worlds". Of course, it was not to be. We now know that light, and other systems, need not minimize action even locally, they might also maximize it, or just follow a stationary path that neither minimizes nor maximizes. In quantum theory light follows all possible paths, and interferes with itself to produce a probability distribution clustering around stationary paths. So while variational functionals proved to be a lasting presence in fundamental physics, optimality did not.

Not directly. Aristotle's final causes are forms that an artifact or a living organism are supposed to achieve when fully developed. Variational principle in optics, on the other hand, applies not to the light's destination, but to the path it takes to get there. To fit it into Aristotle's scheme one needs an extra "time" dimension in which light's path "evolves" into the optimal one. Aristotle entertained no such fancy. And since variational principles prescribe the exact path light (or other system) must take they cipher Aristotle's efficient causes, not his final ones. However, in a way medieval scholasts did have an extra dimension in the logical progression from God to the creation, albeit collapsed into a single step. So God's design could be seen as the final cause explaining the economy of nature, just like features of an artifact are explained by its final cause, the creator's design.

But with a single created world connection to optimality is tenuous, optimal is only such compared to non-optimal. Heron's observation was essentially overlooked by scholasts, and only resurfaced when Fermat generalized it. Variational principles of physics stem not from Aristotle's teleological intuitions, but from Leibniz's modal ones, whose motivation came not from economy of nature but from theodicy. Leibniz did have medieval predecessors, explicitly cited in his Theodicy. Duns Scotus asserted that God had many alternative chains of events to choose from, and Molina even inserted an intermediate step between God's essence and the act of creation, the so-called middle knowledge. In it God saw "what each such will would do... were it to be placed in this or that or indeed in infinitely many orders of things". In orders of things one easily recognizes possible worlds, but Leibniz added a missing key ingredient. God did not just choose this particular world for inscrutable divine reasons, he chose the best of possible worlds, and our reason is capable of discerning the signs of this bestness. Maupertuis original formulation of the least action principle bears the hallmarks of trying to fulfill this task.

Alas, it was not to be. We now know that light, and other systems, need not minimize action even locally, they might also maximize it, or just follow a stationary path that neither minimizes nor maximizes. In quantum theory light follows all possible paths, and interferes with itself to produce a probability distribution clustering around stationary paths. So while variational functionals proved to be a lasting presence in fundamental physics, optimality did not.

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Not directly. Aristotle's final causes are forms that an artifact or a living organism are supposed to achieve when fully developed. Variational principle in optics, on the other hand, applies not to the light's destination, but to the path it takes to get there. To fit it into Aristotle's scheme one needs an extra "time" dimension in which light's path "evolves" into the optimal one. Aristotle entertained no such fancy. And since variational principles prescribe the exact path light (or other system) must take they cipher Aristotle's efficient causes, not his final ones. However, in a way medieval scholasts did have an extra dimension in the logical progression from God to the creation, albeit collapsed into a single step. So God's design could be seen as the final cause explaining the economy of nature, just like features of an artifact are explained by its final cause, the creator's design.

But with a single created world connection to optimality is tenuous, optimal needs contrasting withis only such compared to non-optimal. Variational principles of physics stem not from Aristotle's teleological intuitions, but from Leibniz's modal ones. Heron's observation was essentially overlooked by scholasts, and only resurfaced when Fermat generalized it. Maupertuis original formulation of the least action principle bears the hallmarks of Leibniz's "best of possible worlds". Of course, it was not to be. We now know that light, and other systems, need not minimize action even locally, they might also maximize it, or just follow a stationary path that neither minimizes nor maximizes. In quantum theory light follows all possible paths, and interferes with itself to produce a probability distribution clustering around stationary paths. So while variational functionals proved to be a lasting presence in fundamental physics, optimality did not.

Not directly. Aristotle's final causes are forms that an artifact or a living organism are supposed to achieve when fully developed. Variational principle in optics, on the other hand, applies not to the light's destination, but to the path it takes to get there. To fit it into Aristotle's scheme one needs an extra "time" dimension in which light's path "evolves" into the optimal one. Aristotle entertained no such fancy. And since variational principles prescribe the exact path light (or other system) must take they cipher Aristotle's efficient causes, not his final ones. However, in a way medieval scholasts did have an extra dimension in the logical progression from God to the creation, albeit collapsed into a single step. So God's design could be seen as the final cause explaining the economy of nature, just like features of an artifact are explained by its final cause, the creator's design.

But with a single created world connection to optimality is tenuous, optimal needs contrasting with non-optimal. Variational principles of physics stem not from Aristotle's teleological intuitions, but from Leibniz's modal ones. Heron's observation was essentially overlooked by scholasts, and only resurfaced when Fermat generalized it. Maupertuis original formulation of the least action principle bears the hallmarks of Leibniz's "best of possible worlds". Of course, it was not to be. We now know that light, and other systems, need not minimize action even locally, they might also maximize it, or just follow a stationary path that neither minimizes nor maximizes. In quantum theory light follows all possible paths, and interferes with itself to produce a probability distribution clustering around stationary paths. So while variational functionals proved to be a lasting presence in fundamental physics, optimality did not.

Not directly. Aristotle's final causes are forms that an artifact or a living organism are supposed to achieve when fully developed. Variational principle in optics, on the other hand, applies not to the light's destination, but to the path it takes to get there. To fit it into Aristotle's scheme one needs an extra "time" dimension in which light's path "evolves" into the optimal one. Aristotle entertained no such fancy. And since variational principles prescribe the exact path light (or other system) must take they cipher Aristotle's efficient causes, not his final ones. However, in a way medieval scholasts did have an extra dimension in the logical progression from God to the creation, albeit collapsed into a single step. So God's design could be seen as the final cause explaining the economy of nature, just like features of an artifact are explained by its final cause, the creator's design.

But with a single created world connection to optimality is tenuous, optimal is only such compared to non-optimal. Variational principles of physics stem not from Aristotle's teleological intuitions, but from Leibniz's modal ones. Heron's observation was essentially overlooked by scholasts, and only resurfaced when Fermat generalized it. Maupertuis original formulation of the least action principle bears the hallmarks of Leibniz's "best of possible worlds". Of course, it was not to be. We now know that light, and other systems, need not minimize action even locally, they might also maximize it, or just follow a stationary path that neither minimizes nor maximizes. In quantum theory light follows all possible paths, and interferes with itself to produce a probability distribution clustering around stationary paths. So while variational functionals proved to be a lasting presence in fundamental physics, optimality did not.

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