Function, fitness and disposition

Biology and Philosophy 10 (1):39-54 (1995)
In this paper I discuss recent debates concerning etiological theories of functions. I defend an etiological theory against two criticisms, namely the ability to account for malfunction, and the problem of structural doubles. I then consider the arguments provided by Bigelow and Pargetter (1987) for a more forward looking account of functions as propensities or dispositions. I argue that their approach fails to address the explanatory problematic for which etiological theories were developed.
Keywords Function  fitness  dispositions  explanation
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DOI 10.1007/BF00851986
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References found in this work BETA
Ruth G. Millikan (1989). In Defense of Proper Functions. Philosophy of Science 56 (June):288-302.

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