teleology

noun
tel·​e·​ol·​o·​gy | \ ˌte-lē-ˈä-lə-jē How to pronounce teleology (audio) , ˌtē- \

Definition of teleology

1a : the study of evidences of design in nature
b : a doctrine (as in vitalism) that ends are immanent in nature
c : a doctrine explaining phenomena by final causes
2 : the fact or character attributed to nature or natural processes of being directed toward an end or shaped by a purpose
3 : the use of design or purpose as an explanation of natural phenomena

Other Words from teleology

teleologist \ ˌte-​lē-​ˈä-​lə-​jist How to pronounce teleology (audio) , ˌtē-​ \ noun

Examples of teleology in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Yet this approach itself reinforces a particular nationalist teleology. Fara Dabhoiwala, The New York Review of Books, 1 July 2021 The various models proposed for the mechanism of evolution, such as Lamarckian evolution, orthogenesis, and use-disuse, all implied some level of teleology, that there was a directionality inherent in the process. Mano Singham, Scientific American, 5 Sep. 2021 His early preoccupation with initial cosmic conditions led Barrow to reinstate in physical science the ancient philosophical concept of teleology, which (in its various guises) takes into account final as well as initial states. Paul Davies, Scientific American, 10 Oct. 2020 The Weberian analysis then offers no relief from that process, only a fatalism without a teleology. George Blaustein, The New Republic, 2 July 2020 Similarly, the transformative forward-thrust of time in Boyne’s narrative, which orders the novel’s very structure — each chapter break accounts for seven years in Cyril’s life — suggests a kind of progressive teleology. Manuel Betancourt, Longreads, 29 Mar. 2018 The question sums up why the hopeful teleology should nag at us: there are still people who’ve been left ashore. Manuel Betancourt, Longreads, 29 Mar. 2018 Which is what, some believe, happened to Thomas Aquinas, the medieval theologian who tried (and largely succeeded) to fit the entire world into a synthesis of Christian revelation and Aristotelian teleology. Andrew Sullivan, Daily Intelligencer, 22 Dec. 2017 What had happened was one story, the story of communism, the teleology of communism had turned out not to be true. Isaac Chotiner, Slate Magazine, 7 Mar. 2017 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'teleology.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of teleology

1742, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for teleology

New Latin teleologia, from Greek tele-, telos end, purpose + -logia -logy — more at wheel

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Time Traveler for teleology

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The first known use of teleology was in 1742

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Dictionary Entries Near teleology

teleologism

teleology

teleomitosis

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Cite this Entry

“Teleology.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/teleology. Accessed 28 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for teleology

teleology

noun
te·​le·​ol·​o·​gy | \ ˌtel-ē-ˈäl-ə-jē How to pronounce teleology (audio) , ˌtēl- How to pronounce teleology (audio) \
plural teleologies

Medical Definition of teleology

1a : the study of evidences of design in nature
b : a doctrine (as in vitalism) that ends are immanent in nature
c : a doctrine explaining phenomena by final causes
2 : the fact or character attributed to nature or natural processes of being directed toward an end or shaped by a purpose
3 : the use of design or purpose as an explanation of natural phenomena

More from Merriam-Webster on teleology

Britannica English: Translation of teleology for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about teleology

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