Publications [#229074] of Daniel W. McShea

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Papers Published

  1. McShea, DW, Upper-directed systems: A new approach to teleology in biology, Biology & Philosophy, vol. 27 no. 5 (2012), pp. 663-684, Springer Nature [doi] .
    (last updated on 2019/04/18)

    Abstract:
    How shall we understand apparently teleological systems? What explains their persistence (returning to past trajectories following errors) and their plasticity (finding the same trajectory from different starting points)? Here I argue that all seemingly goal-directed systems-e. g., a food-seeking organism, human-made devices like thermostats and torpedoes, biological development, human goal seeking, and the evolutionary process itself-share a common organization. Specifically, they consist of an entity that moves within a larger containing structure, one that directs its behavior in a general way without precisely determining it. If so, then teleology lies within the domain of the theory of compositional hierarchies. © 2012 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.