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  1. Function as a Causal Role in a Biological Model.Maël Lemoine - manuscript
    Philosophers of biology usually distinguish historical and systemic accounts of functions. In many areas of experimental biology the "systemic" account is often the most relevant. Yet there are problems this account does admittedly not face up to very well. My contention is that, though two minor problems are irredeemably unsolvable for the systemic account of function, the major ones can be solved by assuming that 'function' denotes (directly) a causal role in a model and (indirectly) the corresponding process in nature. (...)
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  2. A Functional Naturalism.Anthony Nguyen - 2021 - Synthese 198 (1):295-313.
    I provide two arguments against value-free naturalism. Both are based on considerations concerning biological teleology. Value-free naturalism is the thesis that both (1) everything is, at least in principle, under the purview of the sciences and (2) all scientific facts are purely non-evaluative. First, I advance a counterexample to any analysis on which natural selection is necessary to biological teleology. This should concern the value-free naturalist, since most value-free analyses of biological teleology appeal to natural selection. My counterexample is unique (...)
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  3. Functional Powers.Michele Paolini Paoletti - 2021 - In Ludger Jansen & Petter Sandstad (eds.), Neo-Aristotelian Perspectives on Formal Causation. Routledge. pp. 124-148.
    I introduce functional powers, i.e., causal powers that play the role of functions. In the first section, I characterize functions and present some desiderata for a good theory of functions. In the second section, I make some assumptions about the ontology of powers, teleology and structures-that will be helpful in order to ground my account of functional powers. In the third section, sixteen different types of functional powers are examined. All such types of functional powers will exhaustively contribute to performing (...)
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  4. The Function of Assertion and Social Norms.Peter Graham - 2020 - In Sanford Goldberg (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Assertion. New York, USA: Oxford University Press. pp. 727-748.
    A proper function of an entity is a beneficial effect that helps explain the persistence of the entity. Proper functions thereby arise through feedback mechanisms with beneficial effects as inputs and persistence as outputs. We continue to make assertions because they benefit speakers by benefiting speakers. Hearers benefit from true information. Speakers benefit by influencing hearer belief. If hearers do not benefit, they will not form beliefs in response to assertions. Speakers can then only maintain influence by providing true information, (...)
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  5. Functions and Functioning in Aldo Leopold’s Land Ethic and in Ecology.Roberta L. Millstein - 2020 - Philosophy of Science 87 (5):1107-1118.
    I examine the use of the term function in Aldo Leopold’s land ethic, invoked as (1) the healthy functioning of the land community, which is dependent on (2) the maintenance of the characteristic functions of populations that are parts of the land community. The latter can be understood as referring to interactions between species that are the products of coevolution (such as parasite-host, predator-prey) and, thus, in terms of the “selected effect” account of function. The performance of these functions under (...)
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  6. Systemic Analysis and Functional Explanation: Structure and Limitations.Andrea Soledad Olmos, Ariel Jonathan Roffé & Santiago Ginnobili - 2020 - In Lorenzo Baravalle & Luciana Zaterka (eds.), Life and Evolution: Latin American Essays on the History and Philosophy of Biology. pp. 209-229.
    How questions and why questions interact in complex ways within biological practice. One of the most fruitful accounts to think about this relation is the widely known systemic approach, which has its origin mainly in the works of Robert Cummins (1975, 1983). As we will show, this approach effectively manages to capture much of what biologists do, especially in areas such as molecular biology, neuroscience and neuroethology. Our aim with this work is to discuss the metatheoretical status of the presuppositions (...)
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  7. Artificial Life and ‘Nature’s Purposes’: The Question of Behavioral Autonomy.Elena Popa - 2020 - Human Affairs 30 (4):587-596.
    This paper investigates the concept of behavioral autonomy in Artificial Life by drawing a parallel to the use of teleological notions in the study of biological life. Contrary to one of the leading assumptions in Artificial Life research, I argue that there is a significant difference in how autonomous behavior is understood in artificial and biological life forms: the former is underlain by human goals in a way that the latter is not. While behavioral traits can be explained in relation (...)
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  8. From Paradigm-Based Explanation to Pragmatic Genealogy.Matthieu Queloz - 2020 - Mind 129 (515):683-714.
    Why would philosophers interested in the points or functions of our conceptual practices bother with genealogical explanations if they can focus directly on paradigmatic examples of the practices we now have?? To answer this question, I compare the method of pragmatic genealogy advocated by Edward Craig, Bernard Williams, and Miranda Fricker—a method whose singular combination of fictionalising and historicising has met with suspicion—with the simpler method of paradigm-based explanation. Fricker herself has recently moved towards paradigm-based explanation, arguing that it is (...)
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  9. Ontologies for Space and Ground Systems.Barry Smith - 2020 - In Ground System Architectures Workshop. Los Angeles, CA: GSAW. pp. 1-3.
    We will survey a range of ontologies relevant to space and ground system domains. The ontologies form part of the Common Core Ontology ecosystem (CCO) developed under the IARPA KDD initiative. We focus specifically on the Space Domain Ontologies, a suite of ontologies to support space situational awareness, including the Spacecraft Mission Ontology, Spacecraft Ontology, Space Event Ontology and Space Object Ontology.
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  10. Internal Perspectivalism: The Solution to Generality Problems About Proper Function and Natural Norms.Jason Winning - 2020 - Biology and Philosophy 35 (33):1-22.
    In this paper, I argue that what counts as the proper function of a trait is a matter of the de facto perspective that the biological system, itself, possesses on what counts as proper functioning for that trait. Unlike non-perspectival accounts, internal perspectivalism does not succumb to generality problems. But unlike external perspectivalism, internal perspectivalism can provide a fully naturalistic, mind-independent grounding of proper function and natural norms. The attribution of perspectives to biological systems is intended to be neither metaphorical (...)
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  11. Are There Teleological Functions to Compute?Dimitri Coelho Mollo - 2019 - Philosophy of Science 86 (3):431-452.
    I analyze a tension at the core of the mechanistic view of computation generated by its joint commitment to the medium independence of computational vehicles and to computational systems possessing teleological functions to compute. While computation is individuated in medium-independent terms, teleology is sensitive to the constitutive physical properties of vehicles. This tension spells trouble for the mechanistic view, suggesting that there can be no teleological functions to compute. I argue that, once considerations about the relevant function-bestowing factors for computational (...)
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  12. An Organisational Approach to Biological Communication.Ramiro Frick, Leonardo Bich & Alvaro Moreno - 2019 - Acta Biotheoretica (2):103-128.
    This paper aims to provide a philosophical and theoretical account of biological communication grounded in the notion of organisation. The organisational approach characterises living systems as organised in such a way that they are capable to self-produce and self-maintain while in constant interaction with the environment. To apply this theoretical framework to the study of biological communication, we focus on a specific approach, based on the notion of influence, according to which communication takes place when a signal emitted by a (...)
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  13. Do Constancy Mechanisms Save Distal Content?Justin Garson - 2019 - Philosophical Quarterly 69 (275):409-417.
    In this journal, Schulte develops a novel solution to the problem of distal content: by virtue of what is a mental representation about a distal object rather than a more proximal cause of that representation? Schulte maintains that in order for a representation to have a distal content, it must be produced by a constancy mechanism, along with two other conditions. I raise three objections to his solution. First, a core component of Schulte's solution is just a restrictive version of (...)
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  14. Teleosemantics, Selection and Novel Contents.Justin Garson & David Papineau - 2019 - Biology and Philosophy 34 (3):36.
    Mainstream teleosemantics is the view that mental representation should be understood in terms of biological functions, which, in turn, should be understood in terms of selection processes. One of the traditional criticisms of teleosemantics is the problem of novel contents: how can teleosemantics explain our ability to represent properties that are evolutionarily novel? In response, some have argued that by generalizing the notion of a selection process to include phenomena such as operant conditioning, and the neural selection that underlies it, (...)
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  15. Why is Warrant Normative?Peter J. Graham - 2019 - Philosophical Issues 29 (1):110-128.
    Having an etiological function to F is sufficient to have a competence to F. Having an etiological function to reliably F is sufficient to have a reliable competence, a competence to reliably F. Epistemic warrant consists in the normal functioning of the belief-forming process when the process has forming true beliefs reliably as an etiological function. Epistemic warrant requires reliable competence. Warrant divides into two grades. The first consists in normal functioning, when the process has forming true beliefs reliably as (...)
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  16. Membranes to Molecular Machines: Active Matter and the Remaking of Life.Mathias Grote - 2019 - Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
  17. Explaining How to Perceive the New: Causal-Informational Teleosemantics and Productive Response Functions.Fabian Hundertmark - 2019 - Synthese 198 (6):5335-5350.
    According to Karen Neander’s causal-informational teleosemantics, the contents of perceptual states depend on the etiological response functions of sensory-perceptual systems. In this paper, I argue that this theory is, despite its virtues, unable to explain how humans and other animals are capable of perceiving properties with which no sensory-perceptual system has ever been confronted. After rejecting Neander’s own proposal in terms of second-order similarity and a proposal inspired by Ruth Millikan in terms of simplicity, I offer a solution which equates (...)
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  18. Systemic Functional Adaptedness and Domain-General Cognition: Broadening the Scope of Evolutionary Psychology.Michael Lundie - 2019 - Biology and Philosophy 34 (1):8.
    Evolutionary psychology tends to be associated with a massively modular cognitive architecture. On this framework of human cognition, an assembly of specialized information processors called modules developed under selection pressures encountered throughout the phylogenic history of hominids. The coordinated activity of domain-specific modules carries out all the processes of belief fixation, abstract reasoning, and other facets of central cognition. Against the massive modularity thesis, I defend an account of systemic functional adaptedness, according to which non-modular systems emerged because of adaptive (...)
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  19. Functional Diversity: An Epistemic Roadmap.Christophe Malaterre, Antoine C. Dussault, Sophia Rousseau-Mermans, Gillian Barker, Beatrix E. Beisner, Frédéric Bouchard, Eric Desjardins, Tanya I. Handa, Steven W. Kembel, Geneviève Lajoie, Virginie Maris, Alison D. Munson, Jay Odenbaugh, Timothée Poisot, B. Jesse Shapiro & Curtis A. Suttle - 2019 - BioScience 10 (69):800-811.
    Functional diversity holds the promise of understanding ecosystems in ways unattainable by taxonomic diversity studies. Underlying this promise is the intuition that investigating the diversity of what organisms actually do—i.e. their functional traits—within ecosystems will generate more reliable insights into the ways these ecosystems behave, compared to considering only species diversity. But this promise also rests on several conceptual and methodological—i.e. epistemic—assumptions that cut across various theories and domains of ecology. These assumptions should be clearly addressed, notably for the sake (...)
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  20. Against Etiological Function Accounts of Interests.Katie McShane - 2019 - Synthese 198 (4):3499-3517.
    The etiological account of function defines a part’s/trait’s function as whatever that part/trait does and was selected for doing. Some philosophers have tried to employ this as an account of biological interests, claiming that to benefit an organism is to promote its etiological functioning and to harm it is to inhibit such functioning. I argue that etiological functioning is not a good account of biological interests. I first describe the history of theories of biological interests, explaining the special role that (...)
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  21. Possibility Spaces and the Notion of Novelty: From Music to Biology.Maël Montévil - 2019 - Synthese 196 (11):4555-4581.
    We provide a new perspective on the relation between the space of description of an object and the appearance of novelties. One of the aims of this perspective is to facilitate the interaction between mathematics and historical sciences. The definition of novelties is paradoxical: if one can define in advance the possibles, then they are not genuinely new. By analyzing the situation in set theory, we show that defining generic (i.e., shared) and specific (i.e., individual) properties of elements of a (...)
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  22. On Ordered Pluralism.Matthieu Queloz - 2019 - Australasian Philosophical Review 3 (3):305-11.
    This paper examines Miranda Fricker’s method of paradigm-based explanation and in particular its promise of yielding an ordered pluralism. Fricker’s starting point is a schism between two conceptions of forgiveness, Moral Justice Forgiveness and Gifted Forgiveness. In the light of a hypothesis about the basic point of forgiveness, she reveals the unity underlying the initially baffling plurality and brings order into it, presenting a paradigmatic form of forgiveness as explanatorily basic and other forms as derivative. The resulting picture, she claims, (...)
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  23. Integrative Pluralism for Biological Function.Beckett Sterner & Samuel Cusimano - 2019 - Biology and Philosophy 34 (6):1-21.
    We introduce a new type of pluralism about biological function that, in contrast to existing, demonstrates a practical integration among the term’s different meanings. In particular, we show how to generalize Sandra Mitchell’s notion of integrative pluralism to circumstances where multiple epistemic tools of the same type are jointly necessary to solve scientific problems. We argue that the multiple definitions of biological function operate jointly in this way based on how biologists explain the evolution of protein function. To clarify how (...)
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  24. Deception: A Functional Account.Marc Artiga & Cédric Paternotte - 2018 - Philosophical Studies 175 (3):579-600.
    Deception has recently received a significant amount of attention. One of main reasons is that it lies at the intersection of various areas of research, such as the evolution of cooperation, animal communication, ethics or epistemology. This essay focuses on the biological approach to deception and argues that standard definitions put forward by most biologists and philosophers are inadequate. We provide a functional account of deception which solves the problems of extant accounts in virtue of two characteristics: deceptive states have (...)
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  25. Function and Malfunction in the Biological and Biomedical Sciences and Social Sciences: Fourth European Advanced Seminar in the Philosophy of the Life Sciences, Klosterneuburg, Austria, 5–9 September 2016.Thomas Bonnin, Paola Hernández-Chávez, Michal Hladky & C. David Suárez Pascal - 2018 - Biological Theory 13 (1):39-43.
  26. On Affect: Function and Phenomenology.Andreas Elpidorou - 2018 - Humana Mente 11 (34):155-184.
    This paper explores the nature of emotions by considering what appear to be two differing, perhaps even conflicting, approaches to affectivity—an evolutionary functional account, on the one hand, and a phenomenological view, on the other. The paper argues for the centrality of the notion of function in both approaches, articulates key differences between them, and attempts to understand how such differences can be overcome.
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  27. How to Be a Function Pluralist.Justin Garson - 2018 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 69 (4):1101-1122.
    I distinguish two forms of pluralism about biological functions, between-discipline pluralism and within-discipline pluralism. Between-discipline pluralism holds that different theories of function are appropriate for different subdisciplines of biology and psychology. I provide reasons for rejecting this view. Instead, I recommend within-discipline pluralism, which emphasizes the plurality of function concepts at play within any given subdiscipline of biology and psychology.
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  28. La teoría de la selección natural. Una exploración metacientífica.Santiago Ginnobili - 2018 - Bernal: Universidad Nacional de Quilmes.
    Este libro analiza y reconstruye una de las teorías científicas que más discusiones han provocado en el ámbito de la biología, de la filosofía y de la sociedad: la teoría de la selección natural. Esta teoría, que ocupa un lugar central en la biología evolutiva, se encuentra en el centro de la revolución darwiniana, uno de los cambios más radicales ocurridos en la historia de la ciencia y, sin dudas, uno de los que más consecuencias han tenido sobre la ciencia (...)
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  29. Beyond Cognitive Myopia: A Patchwork Approach to the Concept of Neural Function.Philipp Haueis - 2018 - Synthese 195 (12):5373-5402.
    In this paper, I argue that looking at the concept of neural function through the lens of cognition alone risks cognitive myopia: it leads neuroscientists to focus only on mechanisms with cognitive functions that process behaviorally relevant information when conceptualizing “neural function”. Cognitive myopia tempts researchers to neglect neural mechanisms with noncognitive functions which do not process behaviorally relevant information but maintain and repair neural and other systems of the body. Cognitive myopia similarly affects philosophy of neuroscience because scholars overlook (...)
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  30. Function and Malfunction in the Biological and Biomedical Sciences and Social Sciences.Michal Hladky, Paola Hernández-Chávez, Thomas Bonnin & David Suárez Pascal - 2018 - Biological Theory 13 (1):39-43.
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  31. Mind and Function – Teleosemantics Beyond Selected Effects.Fabian Hundertmark - 2018 - Dissertation, Universität Bielefeld
    Perceptual representations are either correct or incorrect. Their correctness depends on their content and on the way the world is. Teleosemantics delivers compelling explanations of why our perceptual representations have contents, whereby it assigns the notion of "function" a central explanatory role. The author of this thesis engages in the search for a theory of function suited for this purpose. After a detailed evaluation of the selected effects​ theory and dispositional theories, the author argues that a synthesis is best suited (...)
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  32. Functions and Health: Towards a Praxis-Oriented Concept of Health.Lennart Nordenfelt - 2018 - Biological Theory 13 (1):10-16.
    Contemporary philosophy of health and disease has been quite focused on the problem of determining the nature of the concepts of health and disease from a scientific point of view. Some theorists claim and argue that these concepts are value-free and descriptive in the same sense as the concepts of atoms, metal, and rain are value-free and descriptive. According to this descriptive or naturalist line of thought, the notions of health and disease are furthermore related to the idea of a (...)
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  33. Function, Dysfunction, and Normality in Biological Sciences.Etienne Roux - 2018 - Biological Theory 13 (1):17-28.
    A biological function is supposed to be performed adequately, and hence may fail to do so: this is dysfunction. This raises two questions. One is how to make explicit the way in which function can be discriminated from dysfunction without confusing dysfunction with non-function. The second question is how what is “right” and “wrong” can be legitimated by natural regulatory norms. A function can be viewed as a quality to which at least one variable with a definite set of values (...)
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  34. The Gestation of German Biology: Philosophy and Physiology From Stahl to Schelling.John Zammito - 2018 - Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
  35. Bodily Parts in the Structure-Function Dialectic.Ingo Brigandt - 2017 - In Scott Lidgard & Lynn K. Nyhart (eds.), Biological Individuality: Integrating Scientific, Philosophical, and Historical Perspectives. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. pp. 249–274.
    Understanding the organization of an organism by individuating meaningful parts and accounting for organismal properties by studying the interaction of bodily parts is a central practice in many areas of biology. While structures are obvious bodily parts and structure and function have often been seen as antagonistic principles in the study of organismal organization, my tenet is that structures and functions are on a par. I articulate a notion of function (functions as activities), according to which functions are bodily parts (...)
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  36. Malfunctions and Teleology: On the Chances of Statistical Accounts of Functions.Lorenzo Casini - 2017 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 7 (2):319-335.
    The core idea of statistical accounts of biological functions is that to function normally is to provide a statistically typical contribution to some goal state of the organism. In this way, statistical accounts purport to naturalize the teleological notion of function in terms of statistical facts. Boorse’s, 542–573, 1977) original biostatistical account was criticized for failing to distinguish functions from malfunctions. Recently, many have attempted to circumvent the criticism, 519–541, 2012, Journal of Medicine and Philosophy, 39, 634–647, 2014). Here, I (...)
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  37. A Persistence Enhancing Propensity Account of Ecological Function to Explain Ecosystem Evolution.Antoine C. Dussault & Frédéric Bouchard - 2017 - Synthese 194 (4).
    We argue that ecology in general and biodiversity and ecosystem function research in particular need an understanding of functions which is both ahistorical and evolutionarily grounded. A natural candidate in this context is Bigelow and Pargetter’s evolutionary forward-looking account which, like the causal role account, assigns functions to parts of integrated systems regardless of their past history, but supplements this with an evolutionary dimension that relates functions to their bearers’ ability to thrive and perpetuate themselves. While Bigelow and Pargetter’s account (...)
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  38. A Generalized Selected Effects Theory of Function.Justin Garson - 2017 - Philosophy of Science 84 (3):523-543.
    I present and defend the generalized selected effects theory (GSE) of function. According to GSE, the function of a trait consists in the activity that contributed to its bearer’s differential reproduction, or differential retention, within a population. Unlike the traditional selected effects (SE) theory, it does not require that the functional trait helped its bearer reproduce; differential retention is enough. Although the core theory has been presented previously, I go significantly beyond those presentations by providing a new argument for GSE (...)
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  39. Against Organizational Functions.Justin Garson - 2017 - Philosophy of Science 84 (5):1093-1103.
    Over the last 20 years, several philosophers have developed a new approach to biological functions, the organizational approach. This is not a single theory but a family of theories based on the idea that a trait token can acquire a function by virtue of the way it contributes to a complex, organized system and thereby to its own continued persistence as a token. I argue that the organizational approach faces a serious liberality objection. I examine three different ways organizational theorists (...)
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  40. The Problem of Phantom Functions.Sune Holm - 2017 - Erkenntnis 82 (1):233-241.
    This paper discusses a recent solution to the problem of artifact phantom functions by Beth Preston. A phantom function is a function associated with a kind of artifact that it is structurally incapable of performing. Preston proposes a criterion of artifact proper function according to which phantom functions can be proper functions. This paper argues that Preston’s criterion cannot ground the teleological and normative aspects definitive of proper functions and that the proposed criterion is not consistent with Preston’s account of (...)
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  41. Two Arguments for the Etiological Theory Over the Modal Theory of Biological Function.Brian Leahy & Maximilian Huber - 2017 - Synthese 194 (4).
    This paper contains a positive development and a negative argument. It develops a theory of function loss and shows how this undermines an objection raised against the etiological theory of function in support of the modal theory of function. Then it raises two internal problems for the modal theory of function.
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  42. Biological Criteria of Disease: Four Ways of Going Wrong.John Matthewson & Paul Edmund Griffiths - 2017 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 1 (4).
    We defend a view of the distinction between the normal and the pathological according to which that distinction has an objective, biological component. We accept that there is a normative component to the concept of disease, especially as applied to human beings. Nevertheless, an organism cannot be in a pathological state unless something has gone wrong for that organism from a purely biological point of view. Biology, we argue, recognises two sources of biological normativity, which jointly generate four “ways of (...)
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  43. Defending a Functional Kinds Approach to Law.Jan Mihal - 2017 - Australian Journal of Legal Philosophy 42:121-144.
    In this paper, I defend the possibility that law is a functional kind by replying to objections from Leslie Green and Brian Tamanaha. I also show how Kenneth Ehrenberg’s approach to law’s functions in his latest book concedes too much to these objections. A functional kinds approach to law is possible and, for someone interested in showing the importance of law’s functions, preferable. I first explore Tamanaha’s objection and show that the possibility of functional equivalents does not pose a problem (...)
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  44. Téléologie et fonctions en biologie. Une approche non causale des explications téléofonctionnelles.Alberto Molina Pérez - 2017 - Dissertation, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid
    This dissertation is focused on teleology and functions in biology. More precisely, it focuses on the scientific legitimacy of teleofunctional attributions and explanations in biology. It belongs to a multi-faceted debate that can be traced back to at least the 1970s. One aspect of the debate concerns the naturalization of functions. Most authors try to reduce, translate or explain functions and teleology in terms of efficient causes so that they find their place in the framework of the natural sciences. Our (...)
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  45. Functional Analysis and the Species Design.Karen Neander - 2017 - Synthese 194 (4).
    This paper argues that a minimal notion of function and a notion of normal-proper function are used in explaining how bodies and brains operate. Neither is Cummins’ notion, as originally defined, and yet his is often taken to be the clearly relevant notion for such an explanatory context. This paper also explains how adverting to normal-proper functions, even if these are selected functions, can play a significant scientific role in the operational explanations of complex systems that physiologists and neurophysiologists provide, (...)
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  46. The Function of Morality.Nicholas Smyth - 2017 - Philosophical Studies 174 (5):1127-1144.
    What is the function of morality? On this question, something approaching a consensus has recently emerged. Impressed by developments in evolutionary theory, many philosophers now tell us that the function of morality is to reduce social tensions, and to thereby enable a society to efficiently promote the well-being of its members. In this paper, I subject this consensus to rigorous scrutiny, arguing that the functional hypothesis in question is not well supported. In particular, I attack the supposed evidential relation between (...)
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  47. Malfunction Defended.Ema Sullivan-Bissett - 2017 - Synthese 194 (7):2501-2522.
    Historical accounts of biological function are thought to have, as a point in their favour, their being able to accommodate malfunction. Recently, this has been brought into doubt by Paul Sheldon Davies’s argument for the claim that both selected malfunction (that of the selected functions account) and weak etiological malfunction (that of the weak etiological account), are impossible. In this paper I suggest that in light of Davies’s objection, historical accounts of biological function need to be adjusted to accommodate malfunction. (...)
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  48. A Unifying Theory of Biological Function.J. H. van Hateren - 2017 - Biological Theory 12 (2):112-126.
    A new theory that naturalizes biological function is explained and compared with earlier etiological and causal role theories. Etiological theories explain functions from how they are caused over their evolutionary history. Causal role theories analyze how functional mechanisms serve the current capacities of their containing system. The new proposal unifies the key notions of both kinds of theories, but goes beyond them by explaining how functions in an organism can exist as factors with autonomous causal efficacy. The goal-directedness and normativity (...)
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  49. How Objective Are Biological Functions?Marcel Weber - 2017 - Synthese 194 (12):4741-4755.
    John Searle has argued that functions owe their existence to the value that we put into life and survival. In this paper, I will provide a critique of Searle’s argument concerning the ontology of functions. I rely on a standard analysis of functional predicates as relating not only a biological entity, an activity that constitutes the function of this entity and a type of system but also a goal state. A functional attribution without specification of such a goal state has (...)
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  50. New Perspectives on Artifactual and Biological Functions.Marc Artiga - 2016 - Applied Ontology 11 (2):89-102.
    In this essay I introduce the question of artifactual functions in the context of the recent debate on the notion of function. I discuss some of the desiderata a satisfactory account should fulfill and compare them to the desiderata for a theory of biological functions. Finally, within this general framework, I briefly present the three papers included in this volume.
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