While various accounts of teleology have been proposed in the biological sciences, such as Ernst Mayr’s teleonomy, none has been widely embraced. Recently, however, a new theoretical approach to teleological systems has been proposed by McShea and others. This proposal, called field theory, argues that agents and other goal-directed entities are hierarchically structured, spatial relationships between fields and the entities they envelop. Field theory is a promising new approach because it does not rely on metaphysical premises that are objectionable in the sciences. Yet, field theory would benefit from further development. Notably more work needs to be done to address what counts as a directing “field” and how fields direct entities within them.
Our aim is to provide answers that will make field theory a more robust account of goal directedness. Specifically, we aim to publish multiple papers in both biology and philosophy, to develop curriculums that help students understand the history of teleology, and to engage with a broader, public audience through various media venues about the work being done -- by us and others -- to understand goal directedness. Our larger aim is to provide a framework that legitimizes the use of teleological explanations in the sciences.