Teleological Reasoning: Why We Believe There is Order in Things

We have a general bias to read intentionality into things, to see things as happening for a reason, to believe that objects around us have been designed for some purpose. 

We have a general bias to read intentionality into things, to see things as happening for a reason, to believe that objects around us have been designed for some purpose.  This is called teleological reasoning. 


We’re especially likely to do this when we see something that has a lot of order to it.  If a bunch of particles just got together and fell together in a pile and it turned into a human, you’d be very surprised.  So it seems like there should be some sort of organism or intentionality that would arrange these things. 

So we believe that whenever order comes together, it’s because someone or something put it that way.  

In Their Own Words is recorded in Big Think's studio.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock

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