Teleology in Physics and Biology (Online)

Loading Events

« All Events

  • This event has passed.

Teleology in Physics and Biology (Online)

Mar 12 - Mar 13

Teleology in Physics and Biology

Location : Live-streamed online


Teleology (goal-directedness) originated in the western world with Plato and Aristotle. Like virtually everyone before the modern age, they agreed that the purposefulness of nature was self-evident. However, with the advent of the scientific revolution, the reality of inbuilt finality was first questioned and then rejected by mainstream philosophy and science. The re-emergence of teleology in the post-logical positivist era comes with a debate among contemporary philosophers and scientists as to whether teleological axioms are useful or accurate in proposing modern philosophies and scientific theories. 

From cosmology and the notion of the anthropic principle, the concept of “attractors”in nonlinear dynamics, teleological explanations of organismic structure and behavior in biology, genetics, medicine, ethology, psychiatry, and many other divisions of contemporary science – whether teleology is an ineliminable and indispensable explanatory category is being questioned. Theologians join this conversation asking whether teleology provides a relevant and meaningful inspiration for contemporary theistic reflection, developed in dialogue with natural sciences.

This initiative is the inaugural conference of the Project for Science and Religion at the Angelicum Thomistic Institute. It will gather prominent scholars from universities and research centers in Europe and the United States of America. It aims to analyze and discuss the debate concerning teleology. The conference seeks to contribute to the ongoing intellectual discussion between scientists, philosophers, and theologians, in domains pertaining to modern sciences in dialogue with classical Christian understanding of creation and nature.


Friday, March 12, 2021

2:30 PM CET / 1:30 PM GMT / 8:30 AM EST
Karin Öberg (Harvard) – Big Bang Cosmology and Christianity

4:00 PM CET / 3:00 PM GMT / 10:00 AM EST
Andrew Pinsent (Oxford) – Teleology, Providence, and Predestination

5:30 PM CET / 4:30 PM GMT / 11:30 PM EST
Thomas Davenport, OP (Angelicum) – Order from Randomness in the Physical World


Saturday, March 13, 2021

2:30 PM CET / 1:30 PM GMT / 8:30 AM EST
Denis Alexander (Cambridge) – Is Evolution a Chance Process?

4:00 PM CET / 3:00 PM GMT / 10:00 AM EST
Spyridon Koutroufinis (TU Berlin) – Telos in Contemporary Biology and the Relevance of Aristotle

5:30 PM CET / 4:30 PM GMT / 11:30 AM EST
Mariusz Tabaczek, OP (Angelicum) – Does teleology prove the existence of God or does God prove the existence of teleology?


This is an online conference. You can live-stream it on YouTube without registering, but if you register, we will send you a Zoom link via email and you will have an opportunity to submit questions to the speakers after their talks.


Click here to register!


Click here to go to the Angelicum Thomistic Institute YouTube Channel.


Images Courtesy of Nikon Small World. Artists: Teresa Zgoda, Teresa Kugler, Dr. Igor Siwanowicz, Daniel Smith Paredes, Dr. Bhart-Anjan S. Bhullar, Andrei Savitsky, Dr. Yujun Chen, Dr. Jocelyn McDonald, Anne Algar.