Biology and Philosophy 8 (4):409-421 (1993)

Authors
James G. Lennox
University of Pittsburgh
Abstract
It is often claimed that one of Darwin''s chief accomplishments was to provide biology with a non-teleological explanation of adaptation. A number of Darwin''s closest associates, however, and Darwin himself, did not see it that way. In order to assess whether Darwin''s version of evolutionary theory does or does not employ teleological explanation, two of his botanical studies are examined. The result of this examination is that Darwin sees selection explanations of adaptations as teleological explanations. The confusion in the nineteenth century about Darwin''s attitude to teleology is argued to be a result of Darwin''s teleological explanations not conforming to either of the dominant philosophical justifications of teleology at that time. Darwin''s explanatory practices conform well, however, to recent defenses of the teleological character of selection explanations.
Keywords Adaptation  Darwin  final cause  natural selection  plant sexuality  teleology
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DOI 10.1007/BF00857687
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References found in this work BETA

Four Decades of Scientific Explanation.Wesley C. Salmon & Anne Fagot-Largeault - 1989 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 16 (2):355.
Toward a New Philosophy of Biology: Observations of an Evolutionist.Ernst Mayr - 1988 - Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.
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Citations of this work BETA

The Function Debate in Philosophy.Arno Wouters - 2005 - Acta Biotheoretica 53 (2):123-151.
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.
Natural Selection and History.John Beatty & Eric Cyr Desjardins - 2009 - Biology and Philosophy 24 (2):231-246.
Chance Variation: Darwin on Orchids.John Beatty - 2006 - Philosophy of Science 73 (5):629-641.

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