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npl  -gies  1 a  :  the study of evidences of design in nature  b  :  a doctrine (as in vitalism) that ends are immanent in nature  c  :  a doctrine explaining phenomena by final causes  2  :  the fact or character attributed to nature or natural processes of being directed toward an end or shaped by a purpose  3  :  the use of design or purpose as an explanation of natural phenomena .

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