Biology and Philosophy 22 (5):691-708 (2007)

Authors
Alan Love
University of Minnesota
Abstract
“Functional homology” appears regularly in different areas of biological research and yet it is apparently a contradiction in terms—homology concerns identity of structure regardless of form and function. I argue that despite this conceptual tension there is a legitimate conception of ‘homology of function’, which can be recovered by utilizing a distinction from pre-Darwinian physiology (use versus activity) to identify an appropriate meaning of ‘function’. This account is directly applicable to molecular developmental biology and shares a connection to the theme of hierarchy in homology. I situate ‘homology of function’ within existing definitions and criteria for structural assessments of homology, and introduce a criterion of ‘organization’ for judging function homologues, which focuses on hierarchically interconnected interdependencies (similar to relative position and connection for skeletal elements in structural homology). This analysis of biological concepts has at least three broad philosophical consequences: (1) it provides the grounds for the study of behavior and psychological categories as homologues; (2) it demonstrates that philosophers who take selected effect function as primary effectively ignore large portions of comparative, structural, and experimental research, thereby misconstruing biological reasoning and knowledge; and, (3) it underwrites causal generalizations, which illuminates inferences made from model organisms in experimental biology.
Keywords Philosophy   Evolutionary Biology   Philosophy of Biology
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/s10539-007-9093-7
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 63,319
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

In Defense of Proper Functions.Ruth Garrett Millikan - 1989 - Philosophy of Science 56 (June):288-302.
Philosophy of Experimental Biology.Marcel Weber - 2004 - Cambridge University Press.
Philosophy of Experimental Biology.Jacob Stegenga - 2009 - Erkenntnis 71 (3):431-436.

View all 35 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Convergence as Evidence.Adrian Currie - 2013 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 64 (4):763-786.
Functional Independence and Cognitive Architecture.Vincent Bergeron - 2016 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 67 (3):817-836.

View all 33 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Function, Homology and Character Individuation.Paul E. Griffiths - 2006 - Philosophy of Science 73 (1):1-25.
The Phenomena of Homology.Paul Edmund Griffiths - 2007 - Biology and Philosophy 22 (5):643-658.
Biological Pluralism and Homology.Heather A. Jamniczky - 2005 - Philosophy of Science 72 (5):687-698.
Homology in Comparative, Molecular, and Evolutionary Developmental Biology: The Radiation of a Concept.Ingo Brigandt - 2003 - Journal of Experimental Zoology (Molecular and Developmental Evolution) 299:9-17.
Defining Vision: What Homology Thinking Contributes.Mohan Matthen - 2007 - Biology and Philosophy 22 (5):675-689.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2009-01-28

Total views
108 ( #99,409 of 2,448,680 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #447,034 of 2,448,680 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes