Definition of teleology in English:


Line breaks: tele|ology
Pronunciation: /ˌtɛlɪˈɒlədʒi
, ˌtiːl-/

noun (plural teleologies)

[mass noun] Philosophy
  • 1The explanation of phenomena by the purpose they serve rather than by postulated causes: no theory of history can do without teleology [count noun]: his theory of class consciousness is predicated on a teleology
    More example sentences
    • Rather, it points to natural developmental teleologies in children's lives that child-rearing should take into account.
    • Not only do his detailed accounts describe competing constructions of black subjectivity, but they also prescribe particular roles and developmental teleologies for black culture and political consciousness.
    • Rather, he is presenting an emerging ethical alternative that favors individual preference over goods conceived in concrete social networks and immutable teleologies of life.
  • 1.1 Theology The doctrine of design and purpose in the material world.
    More example sentences
    • Unbounded design or contingent teleology occurs when the end-state is not specifically predetermined, but rather is the result of selection of one from among several available alternatives.
    • Without some teleology, there is no flourishing and no future for the human community.
    • Thus the appearance of teleology by itself is not sufficient to infer intelligent design.



Pronunciation: /-əˈlɒdʒɪk/
More example sentences
  • This conclusion follows from the fact that endogenous neuroprotection reflects the teleologic and composite cellular and molecular responses of brain tissue.
  • This paper discusses debate on the relevance of infant observations under three headings: semantic, epislemologic, and teleologic.
  • It was shown that students' thinking could be positively changed over the short term from teleologic to mechanistic.


Pronunciation: /-əˈlɒdʒɪk(ə)l/
More example sentences
  • All effective means are inherently teleological.
  • When we in the West reflect on history, we see it as progressive and teleological - tending towards a end.
  • Darwin's notion of natural selection was not teleological, but some of those who extended Darwinian ideas to the social context argued as if it were.


Pronunciation: /-əˈlɒdʒɪk(ə)li/
More example sentences
  • Anorexia, nausea, and vomiting with pain can all be regarded teleologically as protective reflexes whereby the body prevents the entry of toxins into the body.
  • Finally, this process was teleologically directed toward the restoration of the normal situation: a system grounded in sovereignty.
  • All things are structured teleologically, according to their end or intrinsic purpose, their final cause.


More example sentences
  • We need something beyond an inert metaphysical God, who collapses into either a bland natural law or an empty progressive teleologism, a sort of theological manifest destiny.
  • They tended to be ahistorical because they assumed that the state of underdevelopment was initially universal; their teleologism distracted them from paying close attention to the realities on the ground in the developing societies.
  • But, at the same time, it takes away the teleologism and the determinism that were the reasons for the fail of the evolutionary explanations of cultural process.


More example sentences
  • Evolution is hated by many of those who believe God created everything and everything has a purpose: the fundamentalist teleologists of the world.
  • The appropriateness of this characterization can be seen by looking at the other example he gives of a teleologist, namely Nietzsche.
  • As he states, ‘Human beings have purposes or ends… To a teleologist, an act that promotes these purposes is moral, one that impedes them is immoral’.


mid 18th century (denoting the branch of philosophy that deals with ends or final causes): from modern Latin teleologia, from Greek telos 'end' + -logia (see -logy).

More definitions of teleology

Definition of teleology in:

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Word of the day milord
Pronunciation: mɪˈlɔːd
used to address an English nobleman