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teleo-mechanismTeleomechanismus (ger.)

  • AGerman research tradition of the first half of the 19th century which was initiated by Kant and is characterized by a unification of the teleological and mechanical framework in the explanation of vital phenomena.  

    My thesis is that a consistent, coherent and well-developed research programme guided the development of the life sciences in Germany in the period from 1790 through the mid-1850s, and that this programme was both theoretically and empirically progressive. I call this programme teleo-mechanism, for it was an approach to the phenomena of life based on an attempted unification of the best features of the teleological and mechanical framework of explanation.

    Lenoir, T. (1981). Teleology without regrets. The transformation of physiology in Germany 1790-1847. Stud. Hist. Philos. Sci.12, 293-354: 297.


    This progressive development [of German physiology in the first half of the 19th century] was guided […] by a common framework of ideas which I have characterized as teleo-mechanism, the research tradition which Kant helped to initiate in German biology.

    Lenoir, T. (1982). The Strategy of Life. Teleology and Mechanics in Nineteenth Century German Biology: 12.