David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Philosophy of Science 59 (4):635-654 (1992)
We examine two approaches to functions: etiological and forward-looking. In the context of functions, we raise the question, familiar to philosophers of mind, about the explanatory role of properties that are not supervenient on the mere dispositional features of a system. We first argue that the question has no easy answer in either of the two approaches. We then draw a parallel between functions and goal directedness. We conclude by proposing an answer to the question: The explanatory importance of nonsupervenient properties (like having the function of doing something, or like being goal-directed) does not lie in any special causal mechanism through which these properties bring about their effects; it lies rather in the different classification of the explananda types that these properties generate
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Arno Wouters (2005). The Function Debate in Philosophy. Acta Biotheoretica 53 (2):123-151.
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Huib L. de Jong (2002). Levels of Explanation in Biological Psychology. Philosophical Psychology 15 (4):441-462.
Maurice K. D. Schouten & Huib Looren De Jong (1999). Reduction, Elimination, and Levels: The Case of the LTP-Learning Link. Philosophical Psychology 12 (3):237 – 262.
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