Function, fitness and disposition

Biology and Philosophy 10 (1):39-54 (1995)
In this paper I discuss recent debates concerning etiological theories of functions. I defend an etiological theory against two criticisms, namely the ability to account for malfunction, and the problem of structural doubles. I then consider the arguments provided by Bigelow and Pargetter (1987) for a more forward looking account of functions as propensities or dispositions. I argue that their approach fails to address the explanatory problematic for which etiological theories were developed.
Keywords Function  fitness  dispositions  explanation
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DOI 10.1007/BF00851986
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References found in this work BETA
The Nature of Selection.Elliott Sober - 1986 - Behaviorism 14 (1):77-88.
In Defense of Proper Functions.Ruth G. Millikan - 1989 - Philosophy of Science 56 (June):288-302.
Functional Analysis.Robert C. Cummins - 1975 - Journal of Philosophy 72 (November):741-64.

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Citations of this work BETA
The Function Debate in Philosophy.Arno Wouters - 2005 - Acta Biotheoretica 53 (2):123-151.
Biological Interests, Normative Functions, and Synthetic Biology.Sune Holm - 2012 - Philosophy and Technology 25 (4):525-541.
Levels of Explanation in Biological Psychology.Huib L. de Jong - 2002 - Philosophical Psychology 15 (4):441-462.

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