David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Acta Biotheoretica 38 (1):63-71 (1990)
The meaning of function statements is not clear. Several authors have come up with different explications. By interviewing biologists I tried to get a picture of how they think about function. Two explications of Feature X of organism S has function F came to the fore: (1) X contributes to F and F contributes to survival/reproduction of S and (2) X does F and that contributes to the evolutionary development of X in S via natural selection. Most biologists also related function to adaptation. Gould and Vrba criticize the ordinary use of adaptation in biology. They propose to use it only in the sense of features developed by natural selection for their current role and to use exaptation for features enhancing fitness, but not developed for this by natural selection. This, however, leaves a terminological gap, because as a consequence only effects of adaptations are functions. Effects of exaptations and effects which are not beneficial, like the production of heart sounds, are placed on the same level. That is not in accordance with the practice of biology. That is why a distinction is made between general, adaptive and exaptive functions: function as a pluralistic concept.
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
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
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
Mohan P. Matthen (1997). Teleology and the Product Analogy. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 75 (1):21 – 37.
Mohan Matthen (2007). Defining Vision: What Homology Thinking Contributes. Biology and Philosophy 22 (5):675-689.
Richard N. Manning (1997). Biological Function, Selection, and Reduction. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 48 (1):69-82.
Justin Garson (2011). Selected Effects and Causal Role Functions in the Brain: The Case for an Etiological Approach to Neuroscience. Biology and Philosophy 26 (4):547-565.
Paul Edmund Griffiths (2006). Function, Homology, and Character Individuation. Philosophy of Science 73 (1):1-25.
Ulrich Krohs (2009). Functions as Based on a Concept of General Design. Synthese 166 (1):69-89.
Aurelio José Figueredo & Sarah Christine Berry (2002). “Just Not so Stories”: Exaptations, Spandrels, and Constraints. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 25 (4):517-518.
Hugh Lehman (1965). Functional Explanation in Biology. Philosophy of Science 32 (1):1-20.
Ron Amundson & George V. Lauder (1994). Function Without Purpose. Biology and Philosophy 9 (4):443-469.
D. M. Walsh (1996). Fitness and Function. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 47 (4):553-574.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads8 ( #182,604 of 1,168,018 )
Recent downloads (6 months)1 ( #140,420 of 1,168,018 )
How can I increase my downloads?