I think that it would be a fair assessment to say that when most people consider "purpose", they are considering intent [of an end-goal] (i.e. a teleological
concept). Do you think this is a fair assessment? Can you think of counterexamples to my assertion?
When I studied and taught evolutionary theory, however, the definition of "purpose" was essentially a teleonomical
one. In other words, "purpose" meant "function" (as derived by evolutionary history). When do people use "purpose" in this sense of the word?
Where it gets interesting, to me, is where you start to think about this stuff in terms of consciousness itself. I look at consciousness as an emergent property
of the functioning of the central nervous system (in the Systems Theory sense). However, the typical materialist view of evolution would see "consciousness" as something of an epiphenomenon, if even acknowledged at all.
What are your thoughts on this stuff? Do you see consciousness as the result of teleonomic or teleologic processes? Are there other phenomena that can be viewed and discussed in teleonomic versus teleologic terms?