David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Synthese 116 (3):303-354 (1998)
Function and teleology can be naturalized either by reference to systems with a particular type of organization or by reference to a particular kind of history . As functions are generally ascribed to states or traits according to their current role and regardless of their origin, etiological accounts are inappropriate. Here, I offer a systems-theoretical interpretation as a new version of an organizational account of functionality, which is more comprehensive than traditional cybernetic views and provides explicit criteria for empirically testable function ascriptions. I propose, that functional states, traits or items are those components of a complex system, which are under certain circumstances necessary for their self-re-production. I show, how this notion can be applied in intra- and trans-generational function ascriptions in biology, how it can deal with the problems of multifunctionality and functional equivalents, and how it relates to concepts like fitness and adaptation. Finally, I argue that most intentional explanations can be treated as functional explanations
|Keywords||Philosophy Philosophy Epistemology Logic Metaphysics Philosophy of Language|
|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
Gualtiero Piccinini (2007). Computing Mechanisms. Philosophy of Science 74 (4):501-526.
Daniel J. Nicholson (2013). Organisms ≠ Machines. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 44 (4):669-678.
Gualtiero Piccinini (2007). Computational Modeling Vs. Computational Explanation: Is Everything a Turing Machine, and Does It Matter to the Philosophy of Mind? Australasian Journal of Philosophy 85 (1):93 – 115.
Robert D. Rupert (2005). Minding One's Cognitive Systems: When Does a Group of Minds Constitute a Single Cognitive Unit? Episteme 1 (3):177-188.
Daniel W. McShea (2012). Upper-Directed Systems: A New Approach to Teleology in Biology. Biology and Philosophy 27 (5):663-684.
Similar books and articles
Predrag Sustar (2007). Neo‐Functional Analysis: Phylogenetical Restrictions on Causal Role Functions. Philosophy of Science 74 (5):601-615.
Oscar Vilarroya (2001). From Functional Mess to Bounded Functionality. Minds and Machines 11 (2):239-256.
Paul E. Griffiths (1993). Functional Analysis and Proper Functions. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 44 (3):409-422.
Rob Vanderbeeken (2006). Can Intentional and Functional Explanations of Actions Coexist? The Proceedings of the Twenty-First World Congress of Philosophy 9:143-147.
William A. Rottschaefer (1997). Adaptational Functional Ascriptions in Evolutionary Biology: A Critique of Schaffner's Views. Philosophy of Science 64 (4):698-713.
Shu-Chen Li & Ulman Lindenberger (2002). Coconstructed Functionality Instead of Functional Normality. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 25 (6):761-762.
John Collier, Autonomy in Anticipatory Systems: Significance for Functionality, Intentionality and Meaning.
Robert Arp (2007). Evolution and Two Popular Proposals for the Definition of Function. Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 38 (1):19 - 30.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads14 ( #180,137 of 1,725,192 )
Recent downloads (6 months)2 ( #268,573 of 1,725,192 )
How can I increase my downloads?