Functions as based on a concept of general design

Synthese 166 (1):69-89 (2009)
Looking for an adequate explication of the concept of a biological function, several authors have proposed to link function to design. Unfortunately, known explications of biological design in turn refer to functions. The concept of general design I will introduce here breaks up this circle. I specify design with respect to its ontogenetic role. This allows function to be based on design without making reference to the history of the design, or to the phylogeny of an organism, while retaining the normative aspect of function ascriptions. The concept is applicable to the function and design of technical artifacts as well. Several problems well known with other definitions can be overcome by this approach.
Keywords Function  Malfunction  Biological design  Technical design  Cummins  Millikan  Type fixation
Categories (categorize this paper)
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 14,275
External links
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
Morton Beckner (1969). Function and Teleology. Journal of the History of Biology 2 (1):151 - 164.
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.

View all 34 references

Citations of this work BETA
Wayne Christensen (2012). Natural Sources of Normativity. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C 43 (1):104-112.
Similar books and articles

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

73 ( #30,030 of 1,700,409 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

9 ( #69,042 of 1,700,409 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.