Function attributions and functional explanations

Philosophy of Science 46 (3):343-365 (1979)
A series of explanatory hypotheses are examined under the assumption that the logical structure of function attributions is dependent on the methodological constraints which these hypotheses conform to. Two theses are argued for: (1) Given these methodological constraints, if something has the function of doing Y, then normally it is the only kind of thing that can do Y in that kind of system. (2) What distinguishes function attributions from causal attribution is not that function attributions explain the etiology of the causally efficacious object, as Wright has suggested. The distinction lies rather in that the object's having the effect, which is attributed to it as its function, must figure in the explanation of why it does what it does to achieve that effect
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1086/288880
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history
Request removal from index
Download options
Our Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 28,824
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA
The Function Debate in Philosophy.Arno Wouters - 2005 - Acta Biotheoretica 53 (2):123-151.
The Dialectic of Life.Christopher Shields - 2012 - Synthese 185 (1):103-124.
Redundancy, Degeneracy and Deviance in Action.Berent Enc - 1985 - Philosophical Studies 48 (3):353 - 374.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles
Functional Explanation in Biology.Hugh Lehman - 1965 - Philosophy of Science 32 (1):1-20.
Defining Vision: What Homology Thinking Contributes.Mohan Matthen - 2007 - Biology and Philosophy 22 (5):675-689.
Can Intentional and Functional Explanations of Actions Coexist?Rob Vanderbeeken - 2006 - The Proceedings of the Twenty-First World Congress of Philosophy 9:143-147.
Teleology and the Product Analogy.Mohan P. Matthen - 1997 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 75 (1):21 – 37.
Indeterminacy of Function Attributions.Berent Enc - 2002 - In Andre Ariew, Robert Cummins & Mark Perlman (eds.), Functions: New Essays in the Philosophy of Psychology and Biology. Oxford University Press. pp. 291.
Fitness and Function.D. M. Walsh - 1996 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 47 (4):553-574.
Teleological Semantics.Mark Rowlands - 1997 - Mind 106 (422):279-304.

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

210 ( #19,170 of 2,178,143 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

1 ( #316,663 of 2,178,143 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.

Other forums