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Dysteleology is the philosophical
Philosophy is the study of general and fundamental problems, such as those connected with existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language. Philosophy is distinguished from other ways of addressing such problems by its critical, generally systematic approach and its reliance on rational...

 view that existence
In common usage, existence is the world we are aware of through our senses, and that persists independently without them. In academic philosophy the word has a more specialized meaning, being contrasted with essence, which specifies different forms of existence as well as different identity...

 has no telos
Telos (philosophy)
A telos is an end or purpose, in a fairly constrained sense used by philosophers such as Aristotle. It is the root of the term "teleology," roughly the study of purposiveness, or the study of objects with a view to their aims, purposes, or intentions. Teleology figures centrally in Aristotle's...

or final cause
Four causes
Four Causes refers to a principle in Aristotelian science that is used to understand change. Aristotle described four different types of causes, or ways in which an object could be explained: "we do not have knowledge of a thing until we have grasped its why, that is to say, its cause", He argued...

 from purposeful design. The term "dysteleology" is a modern word invented and popularized by Haeckel
Ernst Haeckel
The "European War" became known as "The Great War", and it was not until 1920, in the book "The First World War 1914-1918" by Charles à Court Repington, that the term "First World War" was used as the official name for the conflict.-Research:...

. Dysteleology is an aggressive, yet optimistic, form of science-oriented atheism
Atheism is, in a broad sense, the rejection of belief in the existence of deities. In a narrower sense, atheism is specifically the position that there are no deities...

 originally perhaps associated with Ernst Haeckel
Ernst Haeckel
The "European War" became known as "The Great War", and it was not until 1920, in the book "The First World War 1914-1918" by Charles à Court Repington, that the term "First World War" was used as the official name for the conflict.-Research:...

 and his followers, but now perhaps more associated with the type of atheism of Richard Dawkins
Richard Dawkins
Clinton Richard Dawkins, FRS, FRSL , known as Richard Dawkins, is a British ethologist, evolutionary biologist and author...

, Sam Harris
Sam Harris (author)
Sam Harris is an American author, and neuroscientist, as well as the co-founder and current CEO of Project Reason. He received a Bachelor of Arts in philosophy from Stanford University, before receiving a Ph.D. in neuroscience from UCLA...

, or Christopher Hitchens
Christopher Hitchens
Christopher Eric Hitchens is an Anglo-American author and journalist whose books, essays, and journalistic career span more than four decades. He has been a columnist and literary critic at The Atlantic, Vanity Fair, Slate, World Affairs, The Nation, Free Inquiry, and became a media fellow at the...

. Western philosophy
Western philosophy
Western philosophy is the philosophical thought and work of the Western or Occidental world, as distinct from Eastern or Oriental philosophies and the varieties of indigenous philosophies....

 since Copernicus has been increasingly dysteleological. Unlike traditional philosophical and religious perspectives, modern
Modernism, in its broadest definition, is modern thought, character, or practice. More specifically, the term describes the modernist movement, its set of cultural tendencies and array of associated cultural movements, originally arising from wide-scale and far-reaching changes to Western society...

 philosophical naturalism sees existence as having no inherent goal. Philosophical schools that have rejected dysteleology include German idealism
German idealism
German idealism was a philosophical movement that emerged in Germany in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. It developed out of the work of Immanuel Kant in the 1780s and 1790s, and was closely linked both with romanticism and the revolutionary politics of the Enlightenment...

 (including the philosophies of Hegel
Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel
Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel was a German philosopher, one of the creators of German Idealism. His historicist and idealist account of reality as a whole revolutionized European philosophy and was an important precursor to Continental philosophy and Marxism.Hegel developed a comprehensive...

 and Schelling), Integral theory, and some adherents to the Anthropic principle
Anthropic principle
In astrophysics and cosmology, the anthropic principle is the philosophical argument that observations of the physical Universe must be compatible with the conscious life that observes it. Some proponents of the argument reason that it explains why the Universe has the age and the fundamental...


Dysteleology is also the name given to a line of reasoning within the philosophy of religion
Philosophy of religion
Philosophy of religion is a branch of philosophy concerned with questions regarding religion, including the nature and existence of God, the examination of religious experience, analysis of religious language and texts, and the relationship of religion and science...

, which stands in opposition to the Teleological argument
Teleological argument
A teleological or design argument is an a posteriori argument for the existence of God based on apparent design and purpose in the universe. The argument is based on an interpretation of teleology wherein purpose and intelligent design appear to exist in nature beyond the scope of any such human...

. It claims that the discord, pain and evil in the universe suggests that there is no God
God is the English name given to a singular being in theistic and deistic religions who is either the sole deity in monotheism, or a single deity in polytheism....

 or creative force behind it, or that, if there is such a force, it is malevolent rather than benevolent.

Haeckel as a philosopher

Haeckel (1834–1919) was a scientist, philosopher, physician, and artist with a range of talents and achievements somewhat rivaling polymathic geniuses like Leonardo
Leonardo da Vinci
Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci was an Italian Renaissance polymath: painter, sculptor, architect, musician, scientist, mathematician, engineer, inventor, anatomist, geologist, cartographer, botanist and writer whose genius, perhaps more than that of any other figure, epitomized the Renaissance...

 or Goethe; however, many of his speculative ideas were scientifically incorrect. As a philosopher, Haeckel developed a hylozoistic
Hylozoism is the philosophical point of view that all matter is in some sense alive. This may include the view that "inanimate" matter has latent powers of abiogenesis, a widely held position in the scientific community...

 metaphysics somewhat reminiscent of that of the early Greeks. For the traditional Judaeo-Christian emphasis on God, immortality, and free will as a gift from God, he substituted a naturalistic monistic metaphysics emphasizing truth, beauty, and morality with scientific progress. Haeckel's most popular work was perhaps The Riddle of the Universe
World riddle
The term "world riddle" or "world-riddle" has been associated, for over 100 years, with Friedrich Nietzsche...

 (1895–1899, 1901 in English translation). In 1905, in order to promote his own political and philosophical beliefs, Haeckel founded the "Monist League", which survived his death and lasted until the Nazis came to power in Germany in 1933. In the history of science, Haeckel played an important role in publicizing Darwin's ideas, as did T. H. Huxley in Britain and Léon Dumont
Léon Dumont
Léon Dumont was a French psychologist and philosopher. He influenced Nietzsche and William James and is perhaps best known for his treatise on the causes of laughter ....

 in France.

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