“Funzioni” e “teleologia” in G.W. Leibniz


It might be surprising that the distinction between «beings of nature» and «artificial beings» was originally a fact of inner differentiation within the concept of «machine», in the sense that nature, in the Cartesian age, was by definition machina mundi. Under an historical point of view, therefore, references to living substances, as conceptually distinct from inanimate or artificial ones began more or less to appear at the same time in which functions begun to be applied to machines. In protomodern age, mechanism, teleology and generically ‘functional’ approaches to living beings were perceived to be interlaced, not only from an epistemological point of view, but also under the assumption of ontological implications. The ontological realm of natural ends, actually, was strictly intertwined with the gnoseology of the efficient causes. The step from the nature-machine to the machine of nature therefore is not as short as it might at first seem.