[Taxacom] Fwd: Teleology Revisited
Robinwbruce at aol.com
Robinwbruce at aol.com
Mon Mar 11 10:31:24 CDT 2013
Thanks for that.
I did not see character assassination, if it was, it was rather mild by my
judgement, which may well be deeply flawed. Rather I saw pedantry with a
Most biologists in the last 100 years have eschewed teleology, and most
continue to so do. Russell in this respect was very unusual. He embraced it
more and more. The germ is in the quote I gave; it grew in 'The Study of
Living Things', 1924, and had its final expression in the last book which
he wrote that was published during his own lifetime, 'The Directiveness of
Organic Activities', 1945. In an increasingly mono-cultural world, such a
perspective is of interest I believe, though I may be in the majority of one
only here. To me his views demonstrate another dimension of biodiversity,
which if we ignore may cost us dear.
In a message dated 3/11/2013 2:51:02 P.M. GMT Standard Time,
aphodiinaemate at gmail.com writes:
The reasons for David Winter´s choice of purpose rather than function?
Or the reasons for some people picking on that particular sentence? I
haven´t the foggiest to be honest. Who knows what goes on in people´s
heads when they are writing? Maybe Mr Winter was thinking of cetaceans
at the time?
My issue is not so much talking/writing for the sake of it. I quite
enjoy it. I just think it was a form of character assasination. Had it
been me, I would have just brought up the interchangeability (not
endorsing it here, I agree that they are totally different) of the
words "purpose" and "function" in casual conversation, and the
potential pitfalls that this entails. No need to copy/paste anybody´s
links. That would have been fair and a better way to introduce the
topic. Instead it feels like the chap is on trial for choosing the
wrong word in the thesaurus.
On 11 March 2013 15:34, <Robinwbruce at aol.com> wrote:
> Well, for starters, what might be the right reasons?
> In a message dated 3/11/2013 2:04:15 P.M. GMT Standard Time,
> aphodiinaemate at gmail.com writes:
> Oh dear. Have we become so obfuscated with words that we fail to grasp
> sarcasm? Or maybe it is the inability to understand double meaning
> that has started this thread? If some people find fault in the use of
> ambiguous words (english, a pigdin language, is a rich source) then
> maybe they would prefer them gone from the discourse in
> biology/science. David Winter´s choice of words may have been
> unfortunate (it has certainly been painful), but it was a blog, and in
> context his wording was not teleological. Curtis Clark said it quite
> clearly and succintly:
> "Purpose" is often used as an unfortunate substitute for "function" by
> biologists. Sloppy writing doesn't always mean sloppy thinking.
> Yet here we are, 4 days later, still arguing the socioreligious
> inuendo of words. A fascinating topic I´m sure, but started for the
> wrong reasons. Now fire away.
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