What Is The Difference Between Teleology, Ontology And Cosmology?

what is the difference between teleology, ontology and cosmology?

Postby Folcwine » 27 Jan 2011, 03:30

what is the difference between the teleology, ontology and cosmology proofs? please give a little summary of them.
i have to write which one I prefer best, based on their definitions.
thank you!
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Re: what is the difference between teleology, ontology and cosmology?

Postby Morwen-Steelsheen » 27 Jan 2011, 03:39

One is homework, another is proctology and the third is hair and makeup.
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Re: what is the difference between teleology, ontology and cosmology?

Postby MaryAWright » 27 Jan 2011, 03:48

Teleology: The notion that, at base, there is a purpose (or design) in all things... Sort of like that plants are beautiful because they serve a purpose in their beauty (i.e., to bring joy to humans).

Ontology: This is the study of presence or existence - that is, whether or not things or thoughts exist and the structures/natures of this existence (i.e., see http://fractalontology.wordpress.com ). An early example of this would be Plato's Allegory of the Cave.

Cosmology: This is the study of how the Universe is currently and the place of humanity/existence within it. Consider the early Astronomers as philosophers and not scientists (which, at the time, they were) - this is Cosmology.
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Re: what is the difference between teleology, ontology and cosmology?

Postby Tuor » 27 Jan 2011, 03:57

"Teleology" is the study of ends... explaining things by their purpose.

"Ontology" is the branch of philosophy dealing with the nature of "being." Closely related to "Metaphysics."

"Cosmology" is the study of WHAT and HOW things (or more generally, the whole universe) exists. "Cosmologists" as a term refers to Pre-Socratic philosophers who were preoccupied with this subject.


"Teleological Proof" tries to prove the existence of God as a "Final Cause" and ultimate goal of the universe. This proof comes from observing the "purposeful" nature of things.

"Ontological Proof" tries to prove the existence of God merely by its being, its ontological definition. That God by definition necessarily exists. This is called an "a priori" proof because it tries to show God just by thinking about God, no need to observe the exterior world.

"Cosmological Proof" tries to prove the existence of God as the creator of the universe, the "original cause" or "unmoved mover." Basically, every things that moves is moved by something, which in turn was moved by something. There must be something at a beginning who had the power to move itself - God. This proof comes from observing the nature of causality in the exterior world.


Which proof you prefer usually coincides with your own philosophy of knowledge and being. Dualists and rationalists, who think knowledge comes from the mind/soul, favor the ontological proof like Augustine, Anselm, and Descartes. Empiricists, who think knowledge comes from observing the exterior world, favor the cosmological proof like Aristotle and Aquinas. If you are a structuralist or determinist you might prefer the teleological.
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