In teleology, organisms and their organs have "purposes". Not fulfilling the "purposes" is claimed to be "immoral"; a disorder, malfunction, perversion

Are there any philosophies written against (evolutionary) teleology?

  • Thank you for the change. Mar 2, 2022 at 6:39
  • Actually Aristotle has a very similar theory about the goodness of things. When a person or a plant flourishes, then that's what's good for them, because they're fulfilling their purpose. See here lookingforwisdom.com/philosopher-file/aristotle-on-flourishing. I think in this framework there are no wrong or immoral acts, all we can say is that certain states (say, the state of "not flourishing") are "not good" for them. I think there's no place for "immoral" in this framework.
    – Bach
    Mar 2, 2022 at 15:38
  • As I asked in the other comments, are you asking about "evolution" in relation to Darwinian evolution, or other ideas like evolution guided by God? In Darwinian evolution there is pseudo-teleological language but unlike in Aristotelianism teleology is not conceived of as a fundamentally different form of causality from ordinary material interactions. If a body feature is said to have a "purpose" that just means it interacts with the organism's environment in some way that increases fitness, and features may have multiple overlapping "purposes" which can change over time (as in 'exaptation').
    – Hypnosifl
    Mar 2, 2022 at 18:06

1 Answer 1


Since no one else has answered yet, I'll provide a brief response.

There are a whole class of arguments against (evolutionary) teleology. As usual


provides a helpful overview. See


for why teleological notions continue to be defended, as well as common critiques.

However, it sounds like you're looking for a critique of perverted faculty arguments. It is helpful to note that one need not deny the existence of teleology in order to escape the arguments, indeed, there should be at least one (Catholic?) philosopher out there who argues that at least some homosexual sex is permissible under a (broadly) teleological outlook. Specific critiques of PFA are easily googled.

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