Philosophy of Science (forthcoming)

Authors
Justin Garson
Hunter College (CUNY)
Abstract
Theories of function are conventionally divided up into historical and ahistorical ones. Proponents of ahistorical theories often cite the ahistoricity of their accounts as a major virtue. Here, I argue that none of the mainstream “ahistorical” accounts are actually ahistorical. All of them embed, implicitly or explicitly, an appeal to history. In Boorse’s goal-contribution account, history is latent in the idea of statistical-typicality. In the propensity theory, history is implicit in the idea of a species’ natural habitat. In the causal role theory, history is required for making sense of dysfunction. I elaborate some consequences for the functions debate.
Keywords Philosophy of biology  Function and Teleology
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Reprint years 2018
DOI 10.1086/705472
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Functional Analysis.Robert Cummins - 1975 - Journal of Philosophy 72 (November):741-64.
Health as a Theoretical Concept.Christopher Boorse - 1977 - Philosophy of Science 44 (4):542-573.

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