David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Philosophy of Science 58 (2):168-184 (1991)
In this paper I defend an etiological theory of biological functions (according to which the proper function of a trait is the effect for which it was selected by natural selection) against three objections which have been influential. I argue, contrary to Millikan, that it is wrong to base our defense of the theory on a rejection of conceptual analysis, for conceptual analysis does have an important role in philosophy of science. I also argue that biology requires a normative notion of a "proper function", and that a normative notion is not ahistorical.
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Citations of this work BETA
Matteo Mossio, Cristian Saborido & Alvaro Moreno (2009). An Organizational Account of Biological Functions. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 60 (4):813-841.
Philippe Huneman (2010). Topological Explanations and Robustness in Biological Sciences. Synthese 177 (2):213-245.
Karen Neander (1991). The Teleological Notion of 'Function'. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 69 (4):454 – 468.
Karen Neander (1995). Misrepresenting and Malfunctioning. Philosophical Studies 79 (2):109-41.
Sara Green, Arnon Levy & William Bechtel (2015). Design Sans Adaptation. European Journal for Philosophy of Science 5 (1):15-29.
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