Functional explanation in biology

Philosophy of Science 32 (1):1-20 (1965)

Abstract
This paper is concerned with the problem of giving a correct analysis of function statements as they are used in biology. Examples of such statements are (1) The function of the myelin sheath is to insulate the nerve fiber and (2) The function of chlorophyll is to enable photosynthesis to take place. After criticizing analyses of such statements developed by Braithwaite, Nagel and Hempel an analysis is presented by the author. Finally the question of whether function statements are explanations is discussed briefly
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DOI 10.1086/288022
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Function and Teleology.Justin Garson - 2008 - In Anya Plutynski & Sahotra Sarkar (eds.), A Companion to the Philosophy of Biology. Malden, MA: Blackwell. pp. 525-549.
Viability Explanation.Arno Wouters - 1995 - Biology and Philosophy 10 (4):435-457.
Causes, Proximate and Ultimate.Richard C. Francis - 1990 - Biology and Philosophy 5 (4):401-415.
Function and Teleology.Morton Beckner - 1969 - Journal of the History of Biology 2 (1):151-164.
A Goal-State Theory of Function Attributions.Frederick R. Adams - 1979 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 9 (3):493 - 518.

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