Teleology then and now: The question of Kant's relevance for contemporary controversies over function in biology
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C 37 (4):748-770 (2006)
Kant -- drawing on his eighteenth-century predecessors -- provided a discerning and powerful characterization of what biologists had to explain in organic form. His difference from the rest is that he opined that was impossible to explain it. Its ’inscrutability’ was intrinsic. The third ’Critique’ essentially proposed the reduction of biology to a kind of prescientific descriptivism, doomed never to attain authentic scientificity. By contrast, for Locke, and ’a fortiori’ for Buffon and his followers, ’intrinsic purposiveness’ was a fact of the matter about concrete biological phenomena; the features of internal self-regulation were hypotheses arising out of actual research practice. The difference comes most vividly to light once we recognize Kant’s distinction of the concept of organism from the concept of life. (edited)
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Citations of this work BETA
D. M. Walsh (2006). Organisms as Natural Purposes: The Contemporary Evolutionary Perspective. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C 37 (4):771-791.
John H. Zammito (2012). The Lenoir Thesis Revisited: Blumenbach and Kant. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C 43 (1):120-132.
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Arianna Betti & Hein van den Berg (2014). Modelling the History of Ideas. British Journal for the History of Philosophy 22 (4):812-835.
Phillip R. Sloan (2012). How Was Teleology Eliminated in Early Molecular Biology? Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C 43 (1):140-151.
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