David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 48 (1):69-82 (1997)
It is widely assumed that selection history accounts of function can support a fully reductive naturalization of functional properties. I argue that this assumption is false. A problem with the alternative causal role account of function in this context is that it invokes the teleological notion of a goal in analysing real function. The selection history account, if it is to have reductive status, must not do the same. But attention to certain cases of selection history in biology, specifically those involving meiotic drive, shows that selection historical explanations are available in the case of items without any plausible function. Making contributions to goals, here fitness, must be introduced as an additional constraint in the analysis, either explicitly, or implicitly by appeal to individual functions or the selection-of/selection-for distinction.
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Björn Brunnander (2011). Philosophy and Default Descriptivism: The Functions Debate. Metaphilosophy 42 (4):417-430.
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