The teleology of [action] and “to”

The study of natural things, especially in medicine, advances by the discovery of the sort of final cause that is usually expressed in English by an action followed by the preposition to: “after implantation, the body releases progesterone to stop the release of another ovum”; “when food intake drops sharply, the body slows functions to stop the loss of body mass, which can be very frustrating to dieters”; “He has a sickness that keeps his stomach from releasing the enzymes needed to digest food”; etc.

Notice that it makes no difference to the reality of the final cause spoken of if we give an evolutionary account of it: “The woman’s body evolved to release progesterone to stop ovulation” doesn’t negate the sense of “the woman’s body releases progesterone to stop ovulation”.

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