How to be a Realist about sui generis Teleology Yet Feel at Home in the 21st Century

The Monist 87 (1):72-95 (2004)
The reigning orthodoxy on biological teleology assumes that teleology either must be reduced (or eliminated) or it depends on a supernatural agent. The dominant orthodox sect rejects supernaturalism and eliminitivism, and, given the poverty of competing views has been allowed to become complacent about the adequacy of favored reductivist accounts. These are beset by more serious problems than proponents acknowledge. Moreover, the assumption underlying orthodoxy is false; there is an alternative scientifically and philosophically plausible naturalistic account of teleology. We can share reductivists’ realism about biological teleology, embrace ontological and epistemological naturalism about science as well as science’s the ontic authority yet accept sui generis teleology conceived along ontologically emergentist lines. I sketch one such emergentist account, one that deserves serious consideration if supernaturalism and eliminitivism are as impoverished as reductionists believe.
Keywords naturalism  ontology  emergence  biological teleology  functions
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DOI 10.2307/27903856
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Gualtiero Piccinini (2008). Computers. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 89 (1):32–73.

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