Marc Artiga
Universitat De València
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 address some recent counterexamples. This reading, however, shows that there is only a partial overlap between biological functions and selected effects, so the former cannot be reduced to the latter. Finally, I maintain that this result is still compatible with a naturalistic theory of function that appeals to some evolutionary process.
Keywords teleology  normativity  etiological theories
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DOI 10.1007/s13194-021-00357-6
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References found in this work BETA

Representation in Cognitive Science.Nicholas Shea - 2018 - Oxford University Press.
Functional Analysis.Robert Cummins - 1975 - Journal of Philosophy 72 (November):741-64.

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