Functional explanation in biology

Philosophy of Science 32 (1):1-20 (1965)
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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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Citations of this work

On semantic pitfalls of biological adaptation.Michael T. Ghiselin - 1966 - Philosophy of Science 33 (1/2):147-.
Function and Teleology.Justin Garson - 2008 - In Sahorta Sarkar & Anya Plutynski (eds.), Companion to the Philosophy of Biology. Blackwell. pp. 525-549.
What philosophy of biology is not.David L. Hull - 1969 - Synthese 20 (2):157 - 184.
A Goal-State Theory of Function Attributions.Frederick R. Adams - 1979 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 9 (3):493 - 518.
Viability explanation.Arno Wouters - 1995 - Biology and Philosophy 10 (4):435-457.

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References found in this work

Evolution: The Modern Synthesis.Julian Huxley - 1944 - Philosophy 19 (73):166-170.
Analytical Biology.G. Sommerhof - 1951 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 2 (5):73-74.
Thoughts on teleology.Israel Scheffler - 1958 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 9 (33):265.

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