The Monist 87 (1):136-153 (2004)

Authors
Peter H. Schwartz
Indiana University Purdue University, Indianapolis
Abstract
Philosophical interest in the biological concept of function stems largely from concerns about its teleological associations. Assigning something a function seems akin to assigning it a purpose, and discussion of the purpose of items has long been off-limits to science. Analytic philosophers have attempted to defend ‘function’ by showing that claims about functions do not involve any reference to a problematic notion of purpose. To do this, philosophers offer short lists of necessary and sufficient conditions for the application of the concept—where the conditions involve only acceptable physical or biological notions—and claim that the set of conditions captures the import of function statements.
Keywords Analytic Philosophy  Contemporary Philosophy  General Interest  Philosophy of Mind  Philosophy of Science
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ISBN(s) 0026-9662
DOI 10.5840/monist20048713
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Reframing the Disease Debate and Defending the Biostatistical Theory.Peter H. Schwartz - 2014 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 39 (6):572-589.
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.

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