David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 54 (2):261-289 (2003)
The aim of this paper is to evaluate etiological accounts of functions for the domain of technical artefacts. Etiological theories ascribe functions to items on the basis of the causal histories of those items; they apply relatively straightforwardly to the biological domain, in which neo-Darwinian evolutionary theory provides a well-developed and generally accepted background for describing the causal histories of biological items. Yet there is no well-developed and generally accepted theory for describing the causal history of artefacts, so the application of etiological theories to the technical domain is hardly straightforward. In this paper we consider the transposition of etiological theories in general from the biological to the technical domain. We argue that a number of etiological theories that appear defensible for biology become untenable for technology. We illustrate our argument by showing that the standard etiological accounts of Neander and Millikan, and some recent attempts to improve on them, provide examples of such untenable theories. 1 Introduction 2 Desiderata for theories of functions 3 Etiological theories in general 3.1 Common core and divergent aims 3.2 Reproduction versus non-reproduction etiological theories 3.3 Intentionalist versus non-intentionalist etiological theories 4 Problems for etiological theories in the technical domain 5 The failure of existing reproduction theories 6 The failure of existing non-reproduction theories 7 Improving reproduction by hybridisation 8 Conclusions.
|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
Pieter E. Vermaas & Wybo Houkes (2006). Technical Functions: A Drawbridge Between the Intentional and Structural Natures of Technical Artefacts. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 37 (1):5-18.
Wybo Houkes (2006). Knowledge of Artefact Functions. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 37 (1):102-113.
Bjørn Jespersen & Massimiliano Carrara (2011). Two Conceptions of Technical Malfunction. Theoria 77 (2):117-138.
Dingmar van Eck & Erik Weber (2014). Function Ascription and Explanation: Elaborating an Explanatory Utility Desideratum for Ascriptions of Technical Functions. Erkenntnis 79 (6):1367-1389.
Lynne Rudder Baker (2004). The Ontology of Artifacts. Philosophical Explorations 7 (2):99 – 111.
Similar books and articles
Matteo Mossio, Cristian Saborido & Alvaro Moreno (2009). An Organizational Account of Biological Functions. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 60 (4):813-841.
Beth Preston (2003). Of Marigold Beer: A Reply to Vermaas and Houkes. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 54 (4):601-612.
Gerhard Schlosser (1998). Self-Re-Production and Functionality. Synthese 116 (3):303-354.
Michael T. Ghiselin (1998). Etiological Classification and the Acquisition and Structure of Knowledge. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 21 (1):72-73.
Peter H. Schwartz (1999). Proper Function and Recent Selection. Philosophy of Science 66 (3):222.
Osamu Kiritani (2011). Modality and Function: Reply to Nanay. Journal of Mind and Behavior 32 (2):89-90.
Osamu Kiritani (2011). Function and Modality. Journal of Mind and Behavior 32 (1):1-4.
Paul E. Griffiths (1993). Functional Analysis and Proper Functions. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 44 (3):409-422.
Françoise Longy (2013). Artifacts and Organisms: A Case for a New Etiological Theory of Functions. In Philippe Huneman (ed.), Functions: Selection and Mechanisms. Springer 185--211.
Sandra D. Mitchell (1995). Function, Fitness and Disposition. Biology and Philosophy 10 (1):39-54.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads38 ( #87,235 of 1,726,249 )
Recent downloads (6 months)4 ( #183,615 of 1,726,249 )
How can I increase my downloads?