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  1. A Dual-Aspect Theory of Artifact Function.Marc Artiga - forthcoming - Erkenntnis:1-22.
    The goal of this essay is to put forward an original theory of artifact function, which takes on board the results of the debate on the notion of biological function and also accommodates the distinctive aspects of artifacts. More precisely, the paper develops and defends the Dual-Aspect Theory, which is a monist account according to which an artifact’s function depends on intentional and reproductive aspects. It is argued that this approach meets a set of theoretical and meta-theoretical desiderata and is (...)
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  2. Proper Functionalism and the Organizational Theory of Functions.Peter J. Graham - forthcoming - In Luis R. G. Oliveira (ed.), Externalism about Knowledge. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  3. Bacterial Communication.Marc Artiga - 2021 - Biology and Philosophy 36 (4):1-19.
    Recent research on bacteria and other microorganisms has provided interesting insights into the nature of life, cooperation, evolution, individuality or species. In this paper, I focus on the capacity of bacteria to produce molecules that are usually classified as ’signals’ and I defend two claims. First, I argue that certain interactions between bacteria should actually qualify as genuine forms of communication. Second, I use this case study to revise our general theories of signaling. Among other things, I argue that a (...)
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  4. Biological Functions and Natural Selection: A Reappraisal.Marc Artiga - 2021 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 11 (2):1-22.
    The goal of this essay is to assess the Selected-Effects Etiological Theory of biological function, according to which a trait has a function F if and only if it has been selected for F. First, I argue that this approach should be understood as describing the paradigm case of functions, rather than as establishing necessary and sufficient conditions for function possession. I contend that, interpreted in this way, the selected-effects approach can explain two central properties of functions and can satisfactorily (...)
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  5. Power-ing up neo-aristotelian natural goodness.Ben Page - 2021 - Philosophical Studies 178 (11):3755-3775.
    Something is good insofar as it achieves its end, so says a neo-Aristotelian view of goodness. Powers/dispositions are paradigm cases of entities that have an end, so say many metaphysicians. A question therefore arises, namely, can one account for neo-Aristotelian goodness in terms of an ontology of powers? This is what I shall begin to explore in this paper. I will first provide a brief explication of both neo-Aristotelian goodness and the metaphysics of powers, before turning to investigate whether one (...)
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  6. Teleological Powers.Michele Paolini Paoletti - 2021 - Analytic Philosophy 62 (4):336-358.
    In this article I develop a metaphysical account of final causes grounded on contemporary powers metaphysics. After having presented some key elements of an Aristotle-inspired teleology, i.e., the study of final causes within Aristotelian tradition, I introduce powers. Moreover, I present some theses about their nature and features. Afterwards, I distinguish between two kinds of powers that are expected to play the roles traditionally attributed to final causes: weakly teleological powers and strongly teleological powers. Weakly teleological powers are those powers (...)
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  7. A Continuum of Intentionality: Linking the Biogenic and Anthropogenic Approaches to Cognition.Matthew Sims - 2021 - Biology and Philosophy 36 (6):1-31.
    Biogenic approaches investigate cognition from the standpoint of evolutionary function, asking what cognition does for a living system and then looking for common principles and exhibitions of cognitive strategies in a vast array of living systems—non-neural to neural. One worry which arises for the biogenic approach is that it is overly permissive in terms of what it construes as cognition. In this paper I critically engage with a recent instance of this way of criticising biogenic approaches in order to clarify (...)
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  8. The Challenge of Evolution to Religion.Johan De Smedt & Helen De Cruz - 2020 - Cambridge University Press.
    This Element focuses on three challenges of evolution to religion: teleology, human origins, and the evolution of religion itself. First, religious worldviews tend to presuppose a teleological understanding of the origins of living things, but scientists mostly understand evolution as non-teleological. Second, religious and scientific accounts of human origins do not align in a straightforward sense. Third, evolutionary explanations of religion, including religious beliefs and practices, may cast doubt on their justification. We show how these tensions arise and offer potential (...)
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  9. Idols of the Mind Vs. True Reality.Bhakti Madhava Puri - 2020 - Princeton, NJ, USA: Bhakti Vedanta Institute of Spiritual Culture and Science.
    “It is probably justified in requiring a transformation of the image of the real world as it has been constructed in the last 300 years… [for] now it seems to work no longer. One must therefore go back 300 years and reflect on how one could have proceeded differently at that time, and how the whole subsequent development would then be modified. No wonder that puts us into boundless confusion!” :: a letter from Schrödinger to Einstein in 1950 -/- The (...)
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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. Aristotle and the Search of a Rational Framework for Biology.Armando Aranda-Anzaldo - 2019 - Organisms 3 (2):54-64.
    Chance and necessity are mainstays of explanation in current biology, dominated by the neo-Darwinian outlook, a blend of the theory of evolution by natural selection with the basic tenets of population genetics. In such a framework the form of living organisms is somehow a side effect of highly contingent, historical accidents. Thus, at a difference of other sciences, biology apparently lacks theoretical principles that in a law-like fashion may explain the emergence and persistence of the characteristic forms of living organisms (...)
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  12. 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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  13. Hegel’s “Idea of Life” and Internal Purposiveness.Daniel Lindquist - 2018 - Hopos: The Journal of the International Society for the History of Philosophy of Science 8 (2):376-408.
    The first part of the final section of Hegel's Science of Logic, the section on "The Idea", is titled "Life". Logic being the science of thought for Hegel, this section presents Hegel's account of the form of thought peculiar to thinking about living beings as living. Hegel's full account of this form of thought holds that a living being is (1) a functionally organized totality of members (2) that maintains itself in and through its environment (3) in the manner of (...)
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  14. 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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  15. A Plea for the Plurality of Function.Tony Cheng - 2016 - Review of Contemporary Philosophy 15:70-81.
    In this paper I defend a pluralistic approach in understanding function, both in biological and other contexts. Talks about function are ubiquitous and crucial in biology, and it might be the key to bridge the “manifest image” and the “scientific image” identified by Sellars (1962). However, analysis of function has proven to be extremely difficult. The major puzzle is to make sense of “time-reversed causality”: how can property P be the cause of its realizer R? For example, “pumping blood” is (...)
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  16. The Hiddenness of Psychological Symptom Amplification: Some Historical Observations.Justin Garson - 2016 - In Daniel Moseley & Gary Gala (eds.), Philosophy and Psychiatry: Problems, Intersections, and New Perspectives. New York: Routledge. pp. 29-35.
    This book chapter is a short response to a paper by the psychiatrist Nicholas Kontos, on the phenomenon of psychological symptom amplification (PSA). PSA takes place when patients present symptoms to clinicians that they do not actually have, or, perhaps more commonly, they exaggerate symptoms they do have. Kontos argues that, because of modern medical training, it is very difficult for clinicians to recognize that the patient's presented symptoms are exaggerated or nonexistent. I argue that the hiddenness of PSA is (...)
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  17. Morality or “False Consciousness”? How Moral Naturalists Can Answer Thrasymachus’s Challenge.Andrés Luco - 2016 - Journal of Philosophical Research 41:371-400.
    In Book I of Plato’s Republic, Thrasymachus famously maintains that ideas of morality and justice are nothing more than an ideology indoctrinated in “the weaker” to benefit “the stronger.” This is Thrasymachus’s challenge to morality: the thesis that some social arrangements, including some moral norms, are products of ‘false consciousness.’ False consciousness occurs when a dominant social group shapes the beliefs and desires of a subordinate group in such a way that the subordinates act for the benefit of the dominants, (...)
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  18. Review of Biological Autonomy by Alvaro Moreno and Matteo Mossio. [REVIEW]Jason Winning & William Bechtel - 2016 - Philosophy of Science 83 (3):446-452.
  19. Design Sans Adaptation.Sara Green, Arnon Levy & William Bechtel - 2015 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 5 (1):15-29.
    Design thinking in general, and optimality modeling in particular, have traditionally been associated with adaptationism—a research agenda that gives pride of place to natural selection in shaping biological characters. Our goal is to evaluate the role of design thinking in non-evolutionary analyses. Specifically, we focus on research into abstract design principles that underpin the functional organization of extant organisms. Drawing on case studies from engineering-inspired approaches in biology we show how optimality analysis, and other design-related methods, play a specific methodological (...)
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  20. Protosemiosis: Agency with Reduced Representation Capacity.Alexei A. Sharov & Tommi Vehkavaara - 2015 - Biosemiotics 8 (1):103-123.
    Life has semiotic nature; and as life forms differ in their complexity, functionality, and adaptability, we assume that forms of semiosis also vary accordingly. Here we propose a criterion to distinguish between the primitive kind of semiosis, which we call “protosemiosis” from the advanced kind of semiosis, or “eusemiosis”. In protosemiosis, agents associate signs directly with actions without considering objects, whereas in eusemiosis, agents associate signs with objects and only then possibly with actions. Protosemiosis started from the origin of life, (...)
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  21. From Aristotle’s Teleology to Darwin’s Genealogy: The Stamp of Inutility, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015 (Pdf: Contents, Introduction).Marco Solinas - 2015 - Palgrave-Macmillan.
    Starting with Aristotle and moving on to Darwin, Marco Solinas outlines the basic steps from the birth, establishment and later rebirth of the traditional view of living beings, and its overturning by evolutionary revolution. The classic framework devised by Aristotle was still dominant in the 17th Century world of Galileo, Harvey and Ray, and remained hegemonic until the time of Lamarck and Cuvier in the 19th Century. Darwin's breakthrough thus takes on the dimensions of an abandonment of the traditional finalistic (...)
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  22. Mechanistic Explanation in Engineering Science.Dingmar van Eck - 2015 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 5 (3):349-375.
    In this paper I apply the mechanistic account of explanation to engineering science. I discuss two ways in which this extension offers further development of the mechanistic view. First, functional individuation of mechanisms in engineering science proceeds by means of two distinct sub types of role function, behavior function and effect function, rather than role function simpliciter. Second, it offers refined assessment of the explanatory power of mechanistic explanations. It is argued that in the context of malfunction explanations of technical (...)
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  23. Functions, Warrant, History.Peter J. Graham - 2014 - In Abrol Fairweather & Owen Flanagan (eds.), Naturalizing Epistemic Virtue. Cambridge University Press. pp. 15-35.
    I hold that epistemic warrant consists in the normal functioning of the belief-forming process when the process has forming true beliefs reliably as an etiological function. Evolution by natural selection is the central source of etiological functions. This leads many to think that on my view warrant requires a history of natural selection. What then about learning? What then about Swampman? Though functions require history, natural selection is not the only source. Self-repair and trial-and-error learning are both sources. Warrant requires (...)
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  24. The Mismeasure of Machine: Synthetic Biology and the Trouble with Engineering Metaphors.Maarten Boudry & Massimo Pigliucci - 2013 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 44 (4):660-668.
    The scientific study of living organisms is permeated by machine and design metaphors. Genes are thought of as the ‘‘blueprint’’ of an organism, organisms are ‘‘reverse engineered’’ to discover their functionality, and living cells are compared to biochemical factories, complete with assembly lines, transport systems, messenger circuits, etc. Although the notion of design is indispensable to think about adaptations, and engineering analogies have considerable heuristic value (e.g., optimality assumptions), we argue they are limited in several important respects. In particular, the (...)
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  25. The Proper Function of Artifacts: Intentions, Conventions and Causal Inferences.Sergio E. Chaigneau & Guillermo Puebla - 2013 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 4 (3):391-406.
    Designers’ intentions are important for determining an artifact’s proper function (i.e., its perceived real function). However, there are disagreements regarding why. In one view, people reason causally about artifacts’ functional outcomes, and designers’ intended functions become important to the extent that they allow inferring outcomes. In another view, people use knowledge of designers’ intentions to determine proper functions, but this is unrelated to causal reasoning, having perhaps to do with intentional or social forms of reasoning (e.g., authority). Regarding these latter (...)
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  26. Kant and Hegel on Teleology and Life From the Perspective of Debates About Free Will.James Kreines - 2013 - In Thomas Khurana (ed.), THE FREEDOM OF LIFE. Hegelian Perspectives. Walther König. pp. 111-153.
    Kant’s treatment of teleology and life in the Critique of the Power of Judgment is complicated and difficult to interpret; Hegel’s response adds considerable complexity. I propose a new way of understanding the underlying philosophical issues in this debate, allowing a better understanding of the underlying structure of the arguments in Kant and Hegel. My new way is unusual: I use for an interpretive lens some structural features of familiar debates about freedom of the will. These debates, I argue, allow (...)
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  27. Theoreticians as Professional Outsiders: The Modeling Strategies of John von Neumann and Norbert Wiener.Ehud Lamm - 2013 - In Oren Harman & Michael Dietrich (eds.), Outsider Scientists: Routes to Innovation in Biology. Chicago University Press.
    Both von Neumann and Wiener were outsiders to biology. Both were inspired by biology and both proposed models and generalizations that proved inspirational for biologists. Around the same time in the 1940s von Neumann developed the notion of self reproducing automata and Wiener suggested an explication of teleology using the notion of negative feedback. These efforts were similar in spirit. Both von Neumann and Wiener used mathematical ideas to attack foundational issues in biology, and the concepts they articulated had lasting (...)
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  28. Metaphysik des Mechanismus Im Teleologischen Idealismus.Gerhard Müller-Strahl - 2013 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 44 (1):127-152.
    In this study the notion of mechanistic entities is analyzed as it has been conceptualized by Hermann Lotze in his article Life. Vital Force (1842), the metaphysical foundation of which has recourse to his Metaphysik (1841) and Logik (1843). According to Lotze, explanations in the sciences are arguments which have a syntactic and a semantic structure—similar to that which became later known as the DN-model of explanation. The syntactic structure is delineated by ontological forms, the semantic by cosmological ones; the (...)
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  29. Life as Emergent Agential Systems: Tendencies Without Teleology in an Open Universe.Steven L. Peck - 2013 - Zygon 48 (4):984-1000.
    Life is a relationship among various kinds of agents interacting at different scales in ways that are multifarious, complex, and emergent. Life is always a part of an ecological embedding in communities of interaction, which in turn structure and influence how life evolves. Evolution is essential for understanding life and biodiversity. Henri Bergson's Creative Evolution suggests a way of examining “tendencies” without “teleology.” In this paper I reexamine that work in light of recent concepts in evolutionary ecology, and explore how (...)
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  30. Embryology, Developmental Biology, Evo-Devo.Bhakti Madhava Puri - 2013 - The Harmonizer.
    The study of organisms within the range of their existence from fertilization to birth is referred to as embryology. The process of progressive change during that period is called development. That development does not stop at birth but continues on throughout the entire life-span of the organism as the process of growth and decay — catabolism, anabolism, and metabolism. The study of this entire range of life has recently become known as developmental biology. The belief that the development from an (...)
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  31. Early Life on Earth.Bhakti Madhava Puri - 2013 - The Harmonizer.
    Origin of life studies have presented one of the most serious challenges to the mechanistic conception that life can be explained scientifically as a mere product of chemistry and physics. Hypotheses about the origin of life can be divided into two categories: (1) biogenesis – life comes from life, and (2) abiogenesis – life comes from non-living matter. The theory of the spontaneous generation of life from inanimate matter had been held even by the ancient Greeks and by numerous scientists (...)
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  32. Why Evolution is Not True.Bhakti Madhava Puri - 2013 - The Harmonizer.
    Are physics and chemistry sufficient to provide a basis for a theory of everything? The worldview of materialist naturalism that forms the foundation of NeoDarwinian evolution, Big Bang cosmogony, and molecular biology in general has been subjected to challenge for its monumental failure to explain life, consciousness and other mind-related aspects of reality. Two recent books, Why Evolution is True by Jerry Coyne [1], and Thomas Nagel’s Mind and Cosmos: Why the Materialist NeoDarwinian Conception of Nature Is Almost Certainly False (...)
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  33. The Science of Spiritual Biology: Replies to Critics – Part 2.Bhakti Madhava Puri, Bhakti Niskama Shanta & Bhakti Vijnana Muni - 2013 - The Harmonizer.
    We received several critical comments regarding the "The Science of Spiritual Biology." We reply to those criticisms in order to further clarify some of the important points that were made. It is only to be expected that a strong emotional response may be evoked by the revolution in scientific thinking that the modern paradigm of cognitive biology presents. We have to be prepared to accept that, and maintain the integrity of the scientific approach.
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  34. The Role of Necessity in Aristotle’s Teleology as Explained by Logical Implication.Giampaolo Abbate - 2012 - Bochumer Philosophisches Jahrbuch Fur Antike Und Mittelalter 15 (1):1-25.
  35. The Origin of Foresight.Martin Amsteus - 2012 - World Futures 68 (6):390 - 405.
    The purpose of this article is to develop a framework for the origin of foresight. Following a review of arguments for foresight as genetically inherited versus environmentally acquired, the understanding of foresight is expanded through a behaviorist perspective and through an evolutionary perspective. The framework established makes it possible to deploy evolutionary logic to explain foresight as well as to enhance our understanding of foresight, both on individual (e.g., managerial) and aggregated (e.g., organizational) levels.
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  36. En Kropslig Kultur Historie - om omverdens relationen".Maria Brincker - 2012 - In E. O. Pedersen & A.-M. S. Christensen (eds.), Mennesket - En Introduktion Til Filosofisk Antropologi. Systime. pp. 197-216.
    This chapter deals with the way our psychology and actions a scaffolded by their environment but also the tensions that can appear between individual and environment, both at the level of biology and culture. The chapter is grounded in an analysis of the early 20th century theoretical biologist Jacob von Uexkull and his notion of "Umwelt" or "surround world". But also raises the question of whether organisms fit their environment as neatly as Uexkull and many later thinkers have proposed or (...)
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  37. É legítimo explicar em termos teleológicos na biologia?Ricardo Santos do Carmo, Nei Freitas Nunes-Neto & Charbel Niño El-Hani - 2012 - Revista da Biologia 9 (2):28-34.
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  38. Slaves, Women, and Aristotle’s Natural Teleology.Joseph Karbowski - 2012 - Ancient Philosophy 32 (2):323-350.
  39. Teleology in Samuel Johnson’s Rasselas.Chance David Pahl - 2012 - Renascence 64 (3):221-232.
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  40. The Science of Spiritual Biology.Bhakti Madhava Puri - 2012 - The Harmonizer.
    "Living systems are cognitive systems, and living as a process is a process of cognition." -H.R. Maturana, The Biology of Cognition (1970/1980) Just as the cell has gradually come to be understood as a highly regulated and unctionally integrated whole, so too is the biosphere now recognized as a finely balanced ecological whole in which local disturbances can create world-wide climatic catastrophe. The oversimplified ideas of biology that characterized the field in its immature beginning led to the theories of a (...)
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  41. Spiritual Biology: Reply to Critics - Part One.Bhakti Madhava Puri, Bhakti Niskama Shanta & Bhakti Vijnana Muni - 2012 - The Harmonizer.
    We received several critical comments regarding the "The Science of Spiritual Biology." We reply to those criticisms in order to further clarify some of the important points that were made. It is only to be expected that a strong emotional response may be evoked by the revolution in scientific thinking that the modern paradigm of cognitive biology presents. We have to be prepared to accept that, and maintain the integrity of the scientific approach.
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  42. The Teleological Significance of Dreaming in Aristotle.Mor Segev - 2012 - Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy 43:107-141.
    In his discussions of dreaming in the Parva Naturalia, Aristotle neither claims nor denies that dreams serve a natural purpose. Modern scholarship generally interprets dreaming as useless and teleologically irrelevant for him. I argue that Aristotle's teleology permits certain types of dream to have a natural role in end-directed processes. Dreams are left-overs from waking experience, but they may, like certain bodily residues, be used by nature, which does ‘nothing in vain’ and makes use of available resources, for the benefit (...)
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  43. Husserl on Teleology and Theology.Roberto J. Walton - 2012 - Estudios de Filosofía (Universidad de Antioquia) 45:81-103.
  44. G.W. Leibniz, Obiezioni contro la Teoria medica di Georg Ernst Stahl. Sui concetti di anima, vita, organismo.Antonio Nunziante - 2011 - Quodlibet.
    Le Obiezioni contro la Teoria medica di G.E. Stahl, tradotte per la prima volta in italiano, rappresentano un documento di particolare interesse storico-filosofico. Da una parte Georg Ernst Stahl (1659-1734), medico, chimico, fisico, sostenitore di una fisiologia corporea a impronta “vitalista” e dall’altra Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz (1646-1716), genio universale della matematica e della filosofia dell’età barocca. Il fulcro della polemica riguarda la possibilità di capire se e in che misura l’organizzazione meccanica di un corpo organico sia di per se sufficiente (...)
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  45. Evolution: A View From the 21st Century James Shapiro Upper Saddle River, NJ: FT Press Science, 2011.Alexander Powell - 2011 - Genomics, Society and Policy 7 (1):1-9.
  46. Quantum Mechanics and Teleology.S. J. Richard J. Pendergast - 2011 - Heythrop Journal 52 (2):271-278.
  47. Non-Reductive Physicalism and the Teleo-Pragmatic Theory of Mind.Robert Van Gulick - 2011 - Philosophia Naturalis 48 (1):103-124.
  48. ¿ Para qué sirve un ballestrinque? Reflexiones sobre el funcionamiento de artefactos y organismos en un mundo sin funciones.Sergio Balari & Guillermo Lorenzo - 2010 - Teorema: International Journal of Philosophy 29 (3):57-76.
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  49. Representational and Realised Design: Problems for Analogies Between Organisms and Artifacts.Greg Bamford - 2010 - Copenhagen Working Papers on Design 2010 // No. 2.
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  50. Schopenhauer on the Individuation and Teleology of Intelligible Character.Edward Eugene Kleist - 2010 - Idealistic Studies 40 (1-2):15-26.
    A problem arises in Schopenhauer’s claim that each individual person’s will, or intelligible character, is timeless. The principium individuationis depends upon spatio-temporal determinations governing the world as representation. As individual, one’s individual character would seem to depend upon spatio-temporalconditions. Yet, Schopenhauer adopts the Kantian distinction between empirical character and intelligible character, with the individual’s intelligible characterremaining the timeless Ding-an-sich, or will. In response to this problem, I proceed in four stages. First, I examine why Schopenhauer appropriated the Kantiandistinction between intelligible (...)
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