Acta Biotheoretica 68 (2):253-269 (2020)

Authors
Beckett Sterner
Arizona State University
Abstract
We critique the organizational account of biological functions by showing how its basis in the closure of constraints fails to be objective. While the account treats constraints as objective features of physical systems, the number and relationship of potential constraints are subject to potentially arbitrary redescription by investigators. For example, we show that self-maintaining systems such as candle flames can realize closure on a more thorough analysis of the case, contradicting the claim that these “simple” systems lack functional organization. This also raises problems for Moreno and Mossio’s associated theory of biological autonomy, which asserts that living beings are distinguished by their possession of a closed system of constraints that channel and regulate their metabolic processes.
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DOI 10.1007/s10441-019-09365-9
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References found in this work BETA

An Organizational Account of Biological Functions.Matteo Mossio, Cristian Saborido & Alvaro Moreno - 2009 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 60 (4):813-841.
Biological Organization and Cross-Generation Functions.C. Saborido, M. Mossio & A. Moreno - 2011 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 62 (3):583-606.
Wandering Significance: An Essay on Conceptual Behaviour.Chris Daly - 2007 - Philosophical Quarterly 57 (228):498-501.

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