A modern history theory of functions

Noûs 28 (3):344-362 (1994)
Abstract
Biological functions are dispositions or effects a trait has which explain the recent maintenance of the trait under natural selection. This is the "modern history" approach to functions. The approach is historical because to ascribe a function is to make a claim about the past, but the relevant past is the recent past; modern history rather than ancient.
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Mark Bauer (2009). Normativity Without Artifice. Philosophical Studies 144 (2):239-259.

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