Synthese 190 (9):1503-1517 (2013)

Authors
Michael Bertrand
Ohio State University
Abstract
The survival enhancing propensity (SEP) account has a crucial role to play in the analysis of proper function. However, a central feature of the account, its specification of the proper environment to which functions are relativized, is seriously underdeveloped. In this paper, I argue that existent accounts of proper environment fail because they either allow too many or too few characters to count as proper functions. While SEP accounts retain their promise, they are unworkable because of their inability to specify this important feature. However, I suggest that this problem can be overcome by the application of a new strategy for specifying proper environment that is grounded in the operation of natural selection and I conclude by offering a first approximation of such an account.
Keywords Biological function  Serendipitous malfunction  Survival enhancing propensity
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Reprint years 2013
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DOI 10.1007/s11229-011-9889-5
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References found in this work BETA

Warrant and Proper Function.Alvin Plantinga - 1993 - Oxford University Press.
Functional Analysis.Robert Cummins - 1975 - Journal of Philosophy 72 (November):741-64.

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