Philip Pettit
Australian National University
Invoking its social function can explain why we find a certain functional trait or institution only if we can identify a mechanism whereby the playing of the function connects with the explanandum. That is the main claim in the missing-mechanism critique of functionalism. Is it correct? Yes, if functional explanation is meant to make sense of the actual presence of the trait or institution. No, if it is meant to make sense of why the trait or institution is resilient: why we can rely on it to survive various contingencies. The lesson? Social functionalism should be taken, and may have been taken by its founders, as a programme for explaining resilience.
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DOI 10.1093/bjps/47.2.291
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References found in this work BETA

Functional Analysis.Robert Cummins - 1975 - Journal of Philosophy 72 (November):741-64.
The Elementary Forms of the Religious Life.Émile Durkheim - 1915 - New York: the Macmillan Company.
The Common Mind.Philip Pettit - 1993 - Oxford University Press.

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I—Culture and Critique.Sally Haslanger - 2017 - Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 91 (1):149-173.

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