J. L. Mackie

in The Cement of the Universe

Published in print September 1980 | ISBN: 9780198246428
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191597954 | DOI:

Series: Clarendon Library of Logic and Philosophy


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This chapter considers the relevance of teleology for an account of causation. Mackie questions whether there are final causes that can be seen to operate in objective processes which are distinguishable from efficient causes. Examples from the natural world are considered and Mackie suggests that in each case an alternative explanation such as evolutionary theory or functional appropriateness of organs in organisms can provide a sufficient account of them. Mackie concludes that the account of causation that he has developed and argued for can provide a satisfactory account of all natural laws.

Keywords: efficient cause; final cause; natural laws; teleology

Chapter.  11531 words. 

Subjects: Metaphysics

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