Authors
Philip Pettit
Australian National University
Abstract
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.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1093/bjps/47.2.291
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: 58,981
Through your library

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.

View all 15 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

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

View all 18 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Behavioral Traits, the Intentional Stance, and Biological Functions.Marcel Weber - 2011 - In Kathryn Plaisance & Thomas A. C. Reydon (eds.), Philosophy of Behavioral Biology. Berlin: Springer. pp. 317-328.
Viability Explanation.Arno Wouters - 1995 - Biology and Philosophy 10 (4):435-457.
Functional Analysis.Robert Cummins - 1975 - Journal of Philosophy 72 (November):741-64.
Functional Explanation and Metaphysical Individualism.Justin Schwartz - 1993 - Philosophy of Science 60 (2):278-301.
Historical Materialism and Functional Explanation.Allen W. Wood - 1986 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 29 (1-4):11 – 27.
Functional Analysis and Proper Functions.Paul E. Griffiths - 1993 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 44 (3):409-422.
Functional Explanation, Consequence Explanation, and Marxism.G. A. Cohen - 1982 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 25 (1):27 – 56.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2009-01-28

Total views
48 ( #213,585 of 2,427,322 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #533,878 of 2,427,322 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes