Extrinsic finality

Extrinsic finality

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Extrinsic finality is a principle of the philosophy
Philosophy
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...

 of teleology
Teleology
A teleology is any philosophical account which holds that final causes exist in nature, meaning that design and purpose analogous to that found in human actions are inherent also in the rest of nature. The word comes from the Greek τέλος, telos; root: τελε-, "end, purpose...

 that holds that a being has a final cause or purpose external to that being itself, in contrast to an intrinsic finality
Intrinsic finality
Intrinsic finality is the idea that there is a natural good for all beings, and that all beings have a natural tendency to pursue their own good. It is an underlying principle of both teleology and moral objectivism...

, or self-contained purpose.
One example is the view that mineral
Mineral
A mineral is a naturally occurring solid chemical substance formed through biogeochemical processes, having characteristic chemical composition, highly ordered atomic structure, and specific physical properties. By comparison, a rock is an aggregate of minerals and/or mineraloids and does not...

s are "designed" to be used by plant
Plant
Plants are living organisms belonging to the kingdom Plantae. Precise definitions of the kingdom vary, but as the term is used here, plants include familiar organisms such as trees, flowers, herbs, bushes, grasses, vines, ferns, mosses, and green algae. The group is also called green plants or...

s that are in turn "designed" to be used by animal
Animal
Animals are a major group of multicellular, eukaryotic organisms of the kingdom Animalia or Metazoa. Their body plan eventually becomes fixed as they develop, although some undergo a process of metamorphosis later on in their life. Most animals are motile, meaning they can move spontaneously and...

s.

Over-emphasizing extrinsic finality is often criticized as leading to the anthropic attribution of every event to a divine purpose, or superstition. For instance, "If I hadn't been at the store today, I wouldn't have found that $100 on the ground. God must have intended for me to go to the store so I would find that money." or "We won the game today because of my lucky socks." Such abuses were criticized by Francis Bacon
Francis Bacon
Francis Bacon, 1st Viscount St Albans, KC was an English philosopher, statesman, scientist, lawyer, jurist, author and pioneer of the scientific method. He served both as Attorney General and Lord Chancellor of England...

, Descartes, and Spinoza.