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Subcategories:History/traditions: Teleology and Function

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  1. Learning and Selection Processes.Marc Artiga - 2010 - Theoria: Revista de Teoría, Historia y Fundamentos de la Ciencia 25 (2):197-209.
    In this paper I defend a teleological explanation of normativity, i. e., I argue that what an organism is supposed to do is determined by its etiological function. In particular, I present a teleological account of the normativity that arises in learning processes, and I defend it from some objections.
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  2. Aristotelian Essentialism: Essence in the Age of Evolution.Christopher J. Austin - 2017 - Synthese 194 (7):2539-2556.
    The advent of contemporary evolutionary theory ushered in the eventual decline of Aristotelian Essentialism (Æ) – for it is widely assumed that essence does not, and cannot have any proper place in the age of evolution. This paper argues that this assumption is a mistake: if Æ can be suitably evolved, it need not face extinction. In it, I claim that if that theory’s fundamental ontology consists of dispositional properties, and if its characteristic metaphysical machinery is interpreted within the framework (...)
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  3. Xenotransplantation Exposes the Etiology of Azoospermia Factor Induced Male Sterility.Justinn Barr, Daniel Gordon, Paul Schedl & Girish Deshpande - 2015 - Bioessays 37 (3):278-283.
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  4. Contemporary Philosophical Naturalism and its Implications.Bana Bashour & Hans D. Muller (eds.) - 2013 - Routledge.
    One of the most pervasive and persistent questions in philosophy is the relationship between the natural sciences and traditional philosophical categories such as metaphysics, epistemology and the mind. _Contemporary Philosophical Naturalism and Its Implications _is a unique and valuable contribution to the literature on this issue. It brings together a remarkable collection of highly regarded experts in the field along with some young theorists providing a fresh perspective. This book is noteworthy for bringing together committed philosophical naturalists, thus diverging from (...)
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  5. Normative Characterization in Biological and Cognitive Explanations.Mark Bauer - 2015 - Theoria: Revista de Teoría, Historia y Fundamentos de la Ciencia 30 (2):271-286.
    Normative characterization is a commonplace feature of biological and cognitive explanation. Such language seems to commit the biological and cognitive sciences to the existence of natural norms, but it is also difficult to understand how such normativity fits into a natural world of physical causes and forces. I propose to map normativity onto systems stabilized by counteractive constraints. Such a mapping, I believe, can explain normativity’s causal-explanatory role in biological and cognitive inquiry. The common approach in the literature is to (...)
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  6. Note on the Individuation of Biological Traits.Mihnea D. I. Capraru - 2018 - Journal of Philosophy 115 (4):215-221.
    Bence Nanay has argued that we must abandon the etiological theory of teleological function because this theory explains functions and functional categories in a circular manner. Paul Griffiths argued earlier that we should retain the etiological theory and instead prevent the circularity by making etiologies independent of functional categories. Karen Neander and Alex Rosenberg reply to Nanay similarly, and argue that we should analyze functions in terms of natural selection acting not on functional categories, but merely on lineages. Nanay replies (...)
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  7. Principles of Self-Generation and Self-Maintenance.U. An Der Heiden, G. Roth & H. Schwegler - 1985 - Acta Biotheoretica 34 (2-4):125-137.
    Living systems are characterized as self-generating and self-maintaining systems. This type of characterization allows integration of a wide variety of detailed knowledge in biology.The paper clarifies general notions such as processes, systems, and interactions. Basic properties of self-generating systems, i.e. systems which produce their own parts and hence themselves, are discussed and exemplified. This makes possible a clear distinction between living beings and ordinary machines. Stronger conditions are summarized under the concept of self-maintenance as an almost unique character of living (...)
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  8. Functional Biodiversity, Context-Based Ecological Functions and the Function/Mere Effect Distinction.Antoine C. Dussault - manuscript
    This chapter aims to support non-selectionist elucidations of the notion of ecological role and of the idea of ecosystem-level functional organization associated with it. It does so, first, by noting how non-selectionist elucidations of ecological roles, such as those that appeal to the causal role theory of function, better accord with the context-based (rather than evolutionary-historical) understanding of ecological roles adopted in functional ecology. The chapter then discusses a serious challenge raised by the seeming accidentality of context-based ecological roles, and (...)
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  9. Causal Theories and Unusual Causal Pathways.Berent Enç - 1989 - Philosophical Studies 55 (3):231 - 261.
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  10. Gender as a Historical Kind: A Tale of Two Genders?Marion Godman - 2018 - Biology and Philosophy 33 (3-4):21.
    Is there anything that members of each binary category of gender have in common? Even many non-essentialists find the lack of unity within a gender worrying as it undermines the basis for a common political agenda for women. One promising proposal for achieving unity is by means of a shared historical lineage of cultural reproduction with past binary models of gender. I demonstrate how such an account is likely to take on board different binary and also non-binary systems of gender. (...)
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  11. Kant’s Theory of Biology and the Argument From Design.Ina Goy - 2014 - In Eric Watkins & Ina Goy (eds.), Kant's Theory of Biology. De Gruyter. pp. 203-220.
    In this paper, I treat the question of whether and in what regard Kant's theory of biology contains a version of the argument from design, which is the question of whether Kant considers the purposive order of organized nature as a physicotheological proof for the existence of God, and in turn, the existence of God as the supersensible ground for the teleological order of organized nature. As an introduction to the topic, I name traditional examples of the argument from design (...)
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  12. Mental Acts and Mechanistic Psychology in Descartes' Passions.Gary Hatfield - 2008 - In Neil Robertson, Gordon McOuat & Tom Vinci (eds.), Descartes and the Modern. Cambridge Scholars Press. pp. 49-71.
    This chapter examines the mechanistic psychology of Descartes in the _Passions_, while also drawing on the _Treatise on Man_. It develops the idea of a Cartesian “psychology” that relies on purely bodily mechanisms by showing that he explained some behaviorally appropriate responses through bodily mechanisms alone and that he envisioned the tailoring of such responses to environmental circumstances through a purely corporeal “memory.” An animal’s adjustment of behavior as caused by recurring patterns of sensory stimulation falls under the notion of (...)
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  13. Homuncular Functionalism Meets PDP.William G. Lycan - 1991 - In William Ramsey, Stephen P. Stich & D. Rumelhart (eds.), Philosophy and Connectionist Theory. Lawrence Erlbaum.
  14. Satisfaction Conditions in Anticipatory Mechanisms.Marcin Miłkowski - 2015 - Biology and Philosophy 30 (5):709-728.
    The purpose of this paper is to present a general mechanistic framework for analyzing causal representational claims, and offer a way to distinguish genuinely representational explanations from those that invoke representations for honorific purposes. It is usually agreed that rats are capable of navigation because they maintain a cognitive map of their environment. Exactly how and why their neural states give rise to mental representations is a matter of an ongoing debate. I will show that anticipatory mechanisms involved in rats’ (...)
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  15. Thought and its Function.Addison W. Moore - 1912 - Mind 21 (82):233-237.
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  16. Representation in Biological Systems: Teleofunction, Etiology, and Structural Preservation.Michael Nair-Collins - 2013 - In Liz Swan (ed.), Origins of Mind. pp. 161--185.
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  17. The Teleological Theory of Representation.David Papineau - unknown
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  18. Is It Really so Easy to Model Biological Evolution in Terms of Design-Free Cumulative Selection?Peter Punin - manuscript
    Abstract: Without directly taking sides in the design/anti-design debate, this paper defends the following position: the assertion that biological evolution “is” design-free presupposes the possibility to model biological evolution in a design-free way. Certainly, there are design-free models of evolution based on cumulative selection. But “to model” is a verb denoting “modeling” as the process leading to a model. So any modeling – trivially – needs “previous human design.” Nevertheless, contrary to other scientific activities which legitimately consider models while ignoring (...)
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  19. Peter Godfrey-Smith, Complexity and the Function of Mind in Nature. [REVIEW]Paul Raymont - 1997 - Philosophy in Review 17 (1):35-38.
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  20. Teleology Revisited and Other Essays in the Philosophy and History of Science by Ernest Nagel. [REVIEW]Patrick Suppes - 1980 - Journal of Philosophy 77 (12):820-824.
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  21. Natural Self-Interest, Interactive Representation, and the Emergence of Objects and Umwelt.Tommi Vehkavaara - 2003 - Sign Systems Studies 31 (2):547-586.
    In biosemiotics, life and living phenomena are described by means of originally anthropomorphic semiotic concepts. This can be justified if we can show that living systems as self-maintaining far from equilibrium systems create and update some kind of representation about the conditions of their self-maintenance. The point of view is the one of semiotic realism where signs and representations are considered as real and objective natural phenomena without any reference to the specifically human interpreter. It is argued that the most (...)
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  22. Millikan and China.W. Zhang - 1996 - Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science 179:439-446.
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Teleology
  1. Peirce on the Teleology of Inquiry: A Variation on Aristotle's Idea of Teleology.Jerold Jason Patrick Abrams - 1999 - Dissertation, Saint Louis University
    Of the three traditional theories of truth, correspondence, coherence, and pragmatic, Peirce contributed the third. Truth, on this account, is what we will all agree to in the "long run." The long run is a form of teleology, but it is located outside of the present structure of inquiry, and draws inquiry toward a futuristic stasis. This account of teleology has been criticized by W. V. O. Quine, Rollin Workman, Michael Williams, Richard Rorty, Nicholas Rescher, and Paul Weiss. We are (...)
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  2. The Nature of Explanation.Peter Achinstein - 1983 - Oxford University Press.
    Offering a new approach to scientific explanation, this book focuses initially on the explaining act itself.
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  3. Teleology and Mentalism.Peter Achinstein - 1978 - Journal of Philosophy 75 (10):551-553.
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  4. A Goal-State Theory of Function Attributions.Frederick R. Adams - 1979 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 9 (3):493 - 518.
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  5. Teleology: Hindrance Rather Than Help.E. Adomonis - 2001 - Filosofija. Sociologija 12 (1).
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  6. „Teleological Explanations in History‟“.B. M. Akinnawonu - 2006 - Journal of Applied Philosophy 1 (1):188-194.
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  7. Towards a Natural Teleology.D. Maurice Allan - 1952 - Journal of Philosophy 49 (13):449-459.
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  8. Teleological Notions in Biology.Colin Allen - unknown
    Teleological terms such as "function" and "design" appear frequently in the biological sciences. Examples of teleological claims include: A (biological) function of stotting by antelopes is to communicate to predators that they have been detected. Eagles' wings are (naturally) designed for soaring. Teleological notions were commonly associated with the pre-Darwinian view that the biological realm provides evidence of conscious design by a supernatural creator. Even after creationist viewpoints were rejected by most biologists there remained various grounds for concern about the (...)
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  9. Nature's Purposes: Analyses of Function and Design in Biology.Colin Allen, Marc Bekoff & George V. Lauder (eds.) - 1998 - MIT Press.
  10. Teleology and the Activity of Natural Systems.Harold Joseph Allen - 1954 - Dissertation, Columbia University
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  11. Kausalität, Finalität Und Ganzheit.Friedrich Alverdes - 1937 - Acta Biotheoretica 3 (3):167-180.
    There is an autonomy in life that contrasts with physico-chemical processes. It has its own biological causality. Each type of life has its teleological as well as causal side. The researches of biology should therefore be devoted to causality and teleology simultaneously, and not to one or other exclusively. Causal and teleological interpretations must not however be confused. Every life is a whole; in the organism all vital processes are integrated, and causality and teleology inherent in the whole. For the (...)
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  12. The Mind and the Eye: A Study of the Biologist's Standpoint.Agnes Robertson Arber - 1954 - Cambridge University Press.
    Agnes Arber's international reputation is due in part to her exceptional ability to interpret the German tradition of scholarship for the English-speaking world. The Mind and the Eye is an erudite book, revealing its author's familiarity with philosophy from Plato and Aristotle through Aquinas to Kant and Hegel; but it is not dull, because the quiet enthusiasm of the author shines through. In this book she turns from the work of a specialist in one science to those wider questions which (...)
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  13. Teleology of Human Nature for Mentality?Rosemarie Arbur - 1983 - In Robert E. Myers (ed.), The Intersection of Science Fiction and Philosophy: Critical Studies. Greenwood Press. pp. 71--91.
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  14. Platonic and Aristotelian Roots of Teleological Arguments in Cosmology and Biology.Andre Ariew - manuscript
    AristotleÕs central argument for teleologyÑthough not necessarily his conclusionÑis repeated in the teleological arguments of Isaac Newton, Immanuel Kant, William Paley, and Charles Darwin. To appreciate AristotleÕs argument and its influence I assert, first, that AristotleÕs naturalistic teleology must be distinguished from PlatoÕs anthropomorphic one; second, the form of AristotleÕs arguments for teleology should be read as instances of inferences to the best explanation. On my reading, then, both NewtonÕs and PaleyÕs teleological arguments are Aristotelian while their conclusions are Platonic. (...)
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  15. Teleology.Andre Ariew - 2007 - In David L. Hull & Michael Ruse (eds.), The Cambridge Companion to the Philosophy of Biology. Cambridge University Press.
    Teleology in biology is making headline news in the United States. Conservative Christians are utilizing a teleological argument for the existence of a supremely intelligent designer to justify legislation calling for the teaching of "intelligent design" (ID) in public schools. Teleological arguments of one form or another have been around since Antiquity. The contemporary argument from intelligent design varies little from William Paley's argument written in 1802. Both argue that nature exhibits too much complexity to be explained by 'mindless' natural (...)
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  16. Form and Function in the Early Enlightenment.Noga Arikha - 2006 - Perspectives on Science 14 (2):153-188.
    Many physicians, anatomists and natural philosophers engaged in attempts to map the seat of the soul during the so-called Scientific Revolution of the European seventeenth century. The history of these efforts needs to be told in light of the puzzlement bred by today's strides in the neurological sciences. The accounts discussed here, most centrally by Nicolaus Steno, Claude Perrault and Thomas Willis, betray the acknowledgement that a gap remained between observable form, on the one hand, and motor and sensory functions, (...)
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  17. The Nervous System as Physical Machine: With Special Reference to the Origin of Adaptive Behaviour.W. R. Ashby - 1947 - Mind 56 (January):44-59.
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  18. Following Form and Function: Reflections on Nineteenth Century Biophilosophy.Stephen T. Asma - 1994 - Dissertation, Southern Illinois University at Carbondale
    This work is an examination of the metaphysical presuppositions involved in the science of organic form. Taking the dichotomy of structuralism versus functionalism in nineteenth century biology as the central subject of my study, I explore a network of unquestioned premises and isolate areas where empirical research programs and underlying metaphysical commitments both inform and hinder each other. ;I begin with the Cuvier-Geoffroy debate of 1830--a debate that clearly articulates the tensions between structuralist and functionalist approaches to organic form. On (...)
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  19. Masters. Causality and Design : Teleological Explanations in the Living World.Francisco J. Ayala - 2009 - In González Recio & José Luis (eds.), Philosophical Essays on Physics and Biology. G. Olms.
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  20. Adaptation and Novelty: Teleological Explanations in Evolutionary Biology.Francisco J. Ayala - 1999 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 21 (1):3 - 33.
    Knives, birds' wings, and mountain slopes are used for certain purposes: cutting, flying, and climbing. A bird's wings have in common with knives that they have been 'designed' for the purpose they serve, which purpose accounts for their existence, whereas mountain slopes have come about by geological processes independently of their uses for climbing. A bird's wings differ from a knife in that they have not been designed or produced by any conscious agent; rather, the wings, like the slopes, are (...)
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  21. Teleological Explanations Versus Teleology.Francisco J. Ayala - 1998 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 20 (1):41 - 50.
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  22. Teleological Explanations in Evolutionary Biology.Francisco J. Ayala - 1970 - Philosophy of Science 37 (1):1-15.
    The ultimate source of explanation in biology is the principle of natural selection. Natural selection means differential reproduction of genes and gene combinations. It is a mechanistic process which accounts for the existence in living organisms of end-directed structures and processes. It is argued that teleological explanations in biology are not only acceptable but indeed indispensable. There are at least three categories of biological phenomena where teleological explanations are appropriate.
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  23. "Ernest Nagel:" Teleology Revisited and Other Essays in the Philosophy and History of Science. [REVIEW]Bernard Baertschi - 1981 - Studia Philosophica 40:239.
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  24. Teleology and the Idea of Value.Robert C. Baldwin - 1936 - Journal of Philosophy 33 (5):113-124.
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  25. Aristotle and His Hippocratic Precursors on Health and Natural Teleology.Hynek Bartoš - 2010 - Rhizai. A Journal for Ancient Philosophy and Science:7-27.
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  26. Nothing Good Will Come From Giving Up on Aetiological Accounts of Teleology.John Basl - 2012 - Philosophy and Technology 25 (4):543-546.
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  27. Teleological Functional Analyses and the Hierarchical Organization of Nature.William Bechtel - 1986 - In Nicholas Rescher (ed.), Current Issues in Teleology. University Press of America. pp. 26--48.
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  28. Function and Teleology.Morton Beckner - 1969 - Journal of the History of Biology 2 (1):151-164.
    The view of teleology sketched in the above remarks seems to me to offer a piece of candy to both the critics and guardians of teleology. The critics want to defend against a number of things: the importation of unverifiable theological or metaphysical doctrines into the sciences; the idea that goals somehow act in favor of their won realization; and the view that biological systems require for their study concepts and patterns of explanation unlike anything employed in the physical sciences. (...)
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