Etiological theories of function: A geographical survey

Biology and Philosophy 13 (4):505-527 (1998)

Authors
David J. Buller
Northern Illinois University
Abstract
Formulations of the essential commitment of the etiological theory of functions have varied significantly, with some individual authors' formulations even varying from one place to another. The logical geography of these various formulations is different from what is standardly assumed; for they are not stylistic variants of the same essential commitment, but stylistic variants of two non-equivalent versions of the etiological theory. I distinguish these “strong” and “weak” versions of the etiological theory (which differ with respect to the role of selection in their definitions of function), draw out their respective implications, and argue that the weak version is to be preferred to the strong
Keywords Biology  Etiology  Geography  Science  Cummins, R
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Reprint years 2004
DOI 10.1023/A:1006559512367
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References found in this work BETA

Functional Analysis.Robert Cummins - 1975 - Journal of Philosophy 72 (November):741-64.
In Defense of Proper Functions.Ruth Garrett Millikan - 1989 - Philosophy of Science 56 (June):288-302.

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Citations of this work BETA

Epistemic Entitlement.Peter J. Graham - 2012 - Noûs 46 (3):449-482.
Functions Must Be Performed at Appropriate Rates in Appropriate Situations.G. Piccinini & Justin Garson - 2014 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 65 (1):1-20.
Biological Function and Epistemic Normativity.Ema Sullivan-Bissett - 2017 - Philosophical Explorations 20 (1):94-110.
The Function Debate in Philosophy.Arno Wouters - 2005 - Acta Biotheoretica 53 (2):123-151.

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