Biological Theory 5 (2):124-135 (2010)

Claudia-Lorena García
National Autonomous University of Mexico
Most cognitive scientists nowadays tend to think that at least some of the mind’s capacities are the product of biological evolution, yet important conceptual problems remain for all scientists in order to be able to speak coherently of mental or cognitive systems as having evolved naturally. Two of these important problems concern the articulation of adequate, interesting, and empirically useful concepts of homology and variation as applied to cognitive systems. However, systems in cognitive science are usually understood as functional systems of some sort. Thus, to be able to talk about functional systems being homologous requires having a solid, adequate, and empirically articulated concept of functional homology—and the same is true about functional variation. Here I construct an original concept of functional homology that, in my view, adequately systematizes a number of actual uses of the word “functional homology” in a variety of biological disciplines and in ethology. I also propose a number of criteria for the empirical application of the concept that are analogous to the criteria that are currently used in comparative biology, ethology, and molecular developmental genetics. Then I construct a concept of functional variation on the basis of this concept of homology
Keywords Evolution of mind  Functional systems  Comparative psychology  Ethology
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DOI 10.1162/biot_a_00036
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References found in this work BETA

Functional Analysis.Robert Cummins - 1975 - Journal of Philosophy 72 (November):741-64.
Functions.John Bigelow & Robert Pargetter - 1987 - Journal of Philosophy 84 (4):181-196.
Function, Homology and Character Individuation.Paul E. Griffiths - 2006 - Philosophy of Science 73 (1):1-25.

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Citations of this work BETA

Paralelismo, convergencia y homología profunda en la biología: una propuesta conceptual.Claudia Lorena García - 2017 - Metatheoria – Revista de Filosofía E Historia de la Ciencia 8:57--69.

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