Selected effects and causal role functions in the brain: the case for an etiological approach to neuroscience
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Biology and Philosophy 26 (4):547-565 (2011)
Despite the voluminous literature on biological functions produced over the last 40 years, few philosophers have studied the concept of function as it is used in neuroscience. Recently, Craver (forthcoming; also see Craver 2001) defended the causal role theory against the selected effects theory as the most appropriate theory of function for neuroscience. The following argues that though neuroscientists do study causal role functions, the scope of that theory is not as universal as claimed. Despite the strong prima facie superiority of the causal role theory, the selected effects theory (when properly developed) can handle many cases from neuroscience with equal facility. It argues this by presenting a new theory of function that generalizes the notion of a ‘selection process’ to include processes such as neural selection, antibody selection, and some forms of learning—that is, to include structures that have been differentially retained as well as those that have been differentially reproduced. This view, called the generalized selected effects theory of function, will be defended from criticism and distinguished from similar views in the literature
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
Colin Allen & Marc Bekoff (1995). Biological Function, Adaptation, and Natural Design. Philosophy of Science 62 (4):609-622.
Ron Amundson & George V. Lauder (1998). Function Without Purpose: The Uses of Causal Role Function in Evolutionary Biology. In David L. Hull & Michael Ruse (eds.), The Philosophy of Biology. Oxford University Press. 227--57.
Mark Bedau (1992). Where's the Good in Teleology? Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 52 (4):781-806.
John Bigelow & Robert Pargetter (1987). Functions. Journal of Philosophy 84 (4):181-196.
Christopher Boorse (1976). Wright on Functions. Philosophical Review 85 (1):70-86.
Citations of this work BETA
Justin Garson (2012). Function, Selection, and Construction in the Brain. Synthese 189 (3):451-481.
Justin Garson (2013). The Functional Sense of Mechanism. Philosophy of Science 80 (3):317-333.
Similar books and articles
Karen Neander (1991). Functions as Selected Effects: The Conceptual Analyst's Defense. Philosophy of Science 58 (2):168-184.
Françoise Longy (2013). Artifacts and Organisms: A Case for a New Etiological Theory of Functions. In Philippe Huneman (ed.), Functions: Selection and Mechanisms. Springer. 185--211.
Ron Amundson & George V. Lauder (1994). Function Without Purpose. Biology and Philosophy 9 (4):443-469.
Benoni B. Edin (2008). Assigning Biological Functions: Making Sense of Causal Chains. Synthese 161 (2):203 - 218.
Michael R. Dietrich & Roberta L. Millstein (2008). The Role of Causal Processes in the Neutral and Nearly Neutral Theories. Philosophy of Science 75 (5):548-559.
Carl F. Craver (2001). Role Functions, Mechanisms, and Hierarchy. Philosophy of Science 68 (1):53-74.
Peter H. Schwartz (1999). Proper Function and Recent Selection. Philosophy of Science 66 (3):222.
Edmund T. Rolls (2007). Memory, Attention, and Decision-Making: A Unifying Computational Neuroscience Approach. OUP Oxford.
Rob Pranger (1990). Towards a Pluralistic Concept of Function Function Statements in Biology. Acta Biotheoretica 38 (1).
Adela Helena Roszkowski (2010). Natural Selection and the Unity of Functional Analyses. Philosophy of Science 77 (4):633-645.
Peter Spirtes & Richard Scheines (2004). Causal Inference of Ambiguous Manipulations. Philosophy of Science 71 (5):833-845.
Pieter E. Vermaas & Wybo Houkes (2003). Ascribing Functions to Technical Artefacts: A Challenge to Etiological Accounts of Functions. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 54 (2):261-289.
Berent Enc & Fred Adams (1992). Functions and Goal Directedness. Philosophy of Science 59 (4):635-654.
Added to index2011-03-23
Total downloads43 ( #42,400 of 1,101,813 )
Recent downloads (6 months)7 ( #41,591 of 1,101,813 )
How can I increase my downloads?