Two Notions of Ecological Function

Philosophy of Science 89 (1):171-179 (2022)
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Abstract

This paper discusses Millstein’s criticism of the consensus view formed against selected-effects ecological functions. I argue that Millstein’s defense of coevolution-based selected-effects ecological functions applies to a notion of function as an activity, whereas proponents of the consensus view are concerned with a notion of ecological function as the contribution of an organism, population, species, or abiotic item to the maintenance of its community and/or the functioning of its ecosystem. Millstein’s arguments hence do not invalidate the consensus view but draw attention to a notion of function that has been neglected in philosophical discussions and that deserves more attention.

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Antoine C. Dussault
Centre Interuniversitaire De Recherche Sur La Science Et La Technologie (CIRST)

References found in this work

Functional analysis.Robert E. Cummins - 1975 - Journal of Philosophy 72 (November):741-64.
Functions.Larry Wright - 1973 - Philosophical Review 82 (2):139-168.
In defense of proper functions.Ruth Millikan - 1989 - Philosophy of Science 56 (June):288-302.
The Nature of Selection: Evolutionary Theory in Philosophical Focus.Elliott Sober - 1987 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 38 (3):397-399.
The teleological notion of 'function'.Karen Neander - 1991 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 69 (4):454 – 468.

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