Function and Modality

Journal of Mind and Behavior 32 (1):1-4 (2011)
Naturalistic teleological accounts of mental content rely on an etiological theory of function. Nanay has raised a new objection to an etiological theory, and proposed an alternative theory of function that attributes modal force to claims about function. The aim of this paper is both to defend and to cast a new light on an etiological theory of function. I argue against Nanay’s “trait type individuation objection,” suggesting that an etiological theory also attributes modal force to claims about function. An etiological theory of function can be thought to analyze claims about function with modal force, not relying on any theory of counterfactuals.
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