Teleology and agreement in nature

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To conclude, the thing’s conatus consists in the fact that each thing strives to persevere in its own being. The efficacy of this striving depends on the degree of its agreement in nature with external causes. Yet, by striving to improve its agreement in nature with external causes, the thing necessarily strives to enhance its own power of acting. This striving orients how the thing will bring about its own essential effects, and it is teleological because it sets specific restraints on how the thing can make use of its own power of acting, by directing it to reach a state of equilibrium between maximum agreement and minimum disagreement in nature with the external causes. Once equilibrium is reached, a new individual form of organization is produced. In this sense, teleology is the key to understanding how complex forms of organization must necessarily emerge in an infinite nature.
My idea is that every specific body strives to become master over all space and to extend its force (—its will to power:) and to thrust back all that resists its extension. But it continually encounters similar efforts on the part of other bodies and ends by coming to an arrangement (‘union’) with those of them that are sufficiently related to it: thus they then conspire together for power. And the process goes on.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSpinoza
Subtitle of host publicationBasic Concepts
EditorsAndré Santos Campos
Place of PublicationExeter
PublisherExeter: Imprint Academic
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)9781845408893
ISBN (Print)9781845407919
Publication statusPublished - Nov-2015


  • Spinoza
  • teleology

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