Authors
Justin Garson
Hunter College (CUNY)
Gualtiero Piccinini
University of Missouri, St. Louis
Abstract
We sketch a novel and improved version of Boorse’s biostatistical theory of functions. Roughly, our theory maintains that (i) functions are non-negligible contributions to survival or inclusive fitness (when a trait contributes to survival or inclusive fitness); (ii) situations appropriate for the performance of a function are typical situations in which a trait contributes to survival or inclusive fitness; (iii) appropriate rates of functioning are rates that make adequate contributions to survival or inclusive fitness (in situations appropriate for the performance of that function); and (iv) dysfunction is the inability to perform a function at an appropriate rate in appropriate situations. Based on our theory, we sketch solutions to three problems that have afflicted Boorse’s theory of function, namely, Kingma’s ([2010]) problem of the situation-specificity of functions, the problem of multi-functional traits, and the problem of how to distinguish between appropriate and inappropriate rates of functioning.
Keywords Biological Functions  Teleology  Philosophy of Medicine  Philosophy of Biology
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DOI 10.1093/bjps/axs041
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References found in this work BETA

Dispositions and Conditionals.C. B. Martin - 1994 - Philosophical Quarterly 44 (174):1-8.
Health as a Theoretical Concept.Christopher Boorse - 1977 - Philosophy of Science 44 (4):542-573.
Dispositions and Antidotes.Alexander Bird - 1998 - Philosophical Quarterly 48 (191):227-234.
Dispositions.Shungho Choi & Michael Fara - 2012 - The Standford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

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Citations of this work BETA

A Second Rebuttal On Health.Christopher Boorse - 2014 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 39 (6):683-724.
Concepts of Disease and Health.Dominic Murphy - 2015 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Naturalism About Health and Disease: Adding Nuance for Progress.Elselijn Kingma - 2014 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 39 (6):590-608.
Evolution, Dysfunction, and Disease: A Reappraisal: Table 1.Paul E. Griffiths & John Matthewson - 2018 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 69 (2):301-327.

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