Results for 'Functional explanation'

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  1. Functional Explanation in Biology.Arno Wouters - 2005 - Poznan Studies in the Philosophy of the Sciences and the Humanities 84 (1):269-293.
    This paper evaluates Kuipers' account of functional explanation in biology in view of an example of such an explanation taken from real biology. The example is the explanation of why electric fishes swim backwards (Lannoo and Lannoo 1993). Kuipers' account depicts the answer to a request for functional explanation as consisting only of statements that articulate a certain kind of consequence. It is argued that such an account fails to do justice to the main (...)
     
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  2.  85
    Functional Explanation and Metaphysical Individualism.Justin Schwartz - 1993 - Philosophy of Science 60 (2):278-301.
    G. A. Cohen defends and Jon Elster criticizes Marxist use of functional explanation. But Elster's mechanical conception of explanation is, contrary to Elster's claims, a better basis for vindication of functional explanation than Cohen's nomological conception, which cannot provide an adequate account of functional explanation. Elster also objects that functional explanation commits us to metaphysically bizarre collective subjects, but his argument requires an implausible reading of methodological individualism which involves an unattractive (...)
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  3. G. A. Cohen's Functional Explanation: A Critical Realist Analysis.Joly Agar - 2003 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 33 (3):291-310.
    Cohen employs in his book Karl Marx's Theory of History: A Defense in light of its recent republication. In recent years, Roy Bhaskar has provided a convincing critique of the empiricist philosophy of social science that Cohen employs, and this article tries to provide an assessment of his method from a Bhaskarian perspective. It begins with an exposition of functional explanation, followed by the Bhaskarian critique by demonstrating that functionalism is unworkable because it is dependent on an empiricist (...)
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  4.  13
    Social Selection, Agents' Intentions, and Functional Explanation.K. Brad Wray - 2002 - Analyse & Kritik 24 (1):72-86.
    Jon Elster and Daniel Little have criticized social scientists for appealing to a mechanism of social selection in functional explanations of social practices. Both believe that there is no such mechanism operative in the social world. I develop and defend an account of functional explanation in which a mechanism of social selection figures centrally. In addition to developing an account of social selection, I clarify what functional hypotheses purport to claim, and re-examine the role of agents, (...)
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  5.  25
    How to Engineer a Human Being: Passions and Functional Explanation in Descartes.Amy M. Schmitter - 2008 - In Janet Broughton & John Carriero (eds.), A Companion to Descartes. Blackwell. pp. 426-444.
  6.  73
    Review: What Functions Explain: Functional Explanation and Self-Reproducing Systems. [REVIEW]Beth Preston - 2002 - Mind 111 (444):888-891.
  7.  96
    Functional Analysis and Mechanistic Explanation.David Barrett - 2014 - Synthese 191 (12):2695-2714.
    Piccinini and Craver (Synthese 183:283–311, 2011) argue for the surprising view that psychological explanation, properly understood, is a species of mechanistic explanation. This contrasts with the ‘received view’ (due, primarily, to Cummins and Fodor) which maintains a sharp distinction between psychological explanation and mechanistic explanation. The former is typically construed as functional analysis, the analysis of some psychological capacity into an organized series of subcapacities without specifying any of the structural features that underlie the explanandum (...)
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  8.  90
    Function and Functional Explanation in Social Capital Theory: A Philosophical Appraisal.John Vorhaus - 2014 - Studies in Philosophy and Education 33 (2):185-199.
    Social capital is frequently offered up as a variable to explain such educational outcomes as academic attainment, drop-out rates and cognitive development. Yet, despite its popularity amongst social scientists, social capital theory remains the object of some scepticism, particularly in respect of its explanatory ambitions. I provide an account of some explanatory options available to social capital theorists, focussing on the functions ascribed to social capital and on how these are used as explanatory variables in educational theory. Two of the (...)
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  9.  69
    What Functions Explain: Functional Explanation and Self-Reproducing Systems.Peter McLaughlin - 2000 - Cambridge University Press.
    This 2001 book offers an examination of functional explanation as it is used in biology and the social sciences, and focuses on the kinds of philosophical presuppositions that such explanations carry with them. It tackles such questions as: why are some things explained functionally while others are not? What do the functional explanations tell us about how these objects are conceptualized? What do we commit ourselves to when we give and take functional explanations in the life (...)
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  10.  11
    Functional Explanation in Mathematics.Matthew Inglis & Juan Pablo Mejía-Ramos - forthcoming - Synthese:1-24.
    Mathematical explanations are poorly understood. Although mathematicians seem to regularly suggest that some proofs are explanatory whereas others are not, none of the philosophical accounts of what such claims mean has become widely accepted. In this paper we explore Wilkenfeld’s suggestion that explanations are those sorts of things that generate understanding. By considering a basic model of human cognitive architecture, we suggest that existing accounts of mathematical explanation are all derivable consequences of Wilkenfeld’s ‘functional explanation’ proposal. We (...)
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  11.  46
    Functional Explanation and Virtual Selection.Philip Pettit - 1996 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 47 (2):291-302.
    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 (...)
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  12.  94
    Functional Explanation in Context.Mark Couch - 2009 - Philosophy of Science 76 (2):253-269.
    The claim that a functional kind is multiply realized is typically motivated by appeal to intuitive examples. We are seldom told explicitly what the relevant structures are, and people have often preferred to rely on general intuitions in these cases. This article deals with the problem by explaining how to understand the proper relation between structural kinds and the functions they realize. I will suggest that the structural kinds that realize a function can be properly identified by attending to (...)
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  13. Functional Explanation, Consequence Explanation, and Marxism.G. A. Cohen - 1982 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 25 (1):27 – 56.
    I argued in Karl Marx's Theory of History that the central claims of historical materialism are functional explanations, and I said that functional explanations are consequence explanations, ones, that is, in which something is explained by its propensity to have a certain kind of effect. I also claimed that the theory of chance variation and natural selection sustains functional explanations, and hence consequence explanations, of organismic equipment. In Section I I defend the thesis that historical materialism offers (...)
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  14.  55
    Two Tales of Functional Explanation.Martin Roth & Robert Cummins - 2014 - Philosophical Psychology 27 (6):773-788.
    This paper considers two ways functions figure into scientific explanations: (i) via laws?events are causally explained by subsuming those events under functional laws; and (ii) via designs?capacities are explained by specifying the functional design of a system. We argue that a proper understanding of how functions figure into design explanations of capacities makes it clear why such functions are ill-suited to figure into functional-cum-causal law explanations of events, as those explanations are typically understood. We further argue that (...)
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  15.  52
    Historical Materialism and Functional Explanation.Allen W. Wood - 1986 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 29 (1-4):11 – 27.
    This paper is a critical examination of one central theme in Jon Elster's Making Sense of Marx; Elster's defense of ?methodological individualism? in social science and his related critique of Marx's use of ?functional explanation?. The paper does not quarrel with Elster's claim that the particular instances of functional explanation advanced by Marx are defective; what it criticizes is Elster's attempt to raise principled, philosophical objections to this type of explanation in the social sciences. It (...)
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  16.  86
    Against the Argument From Functional Explanation.Thomas W. Polger - manuscript
    There is an argument for functionalism—and _ipso facto_ against identity theory—that can be sketched as follows: We are, or want to be, or should be dedicated to functional explanations in the sciences, or at least the special sciences. Therefore—according to the principle that what exists is what our ideal theories say exists—we are, or want to be, or should be committed to metaphysical functionalism. Let us call this the _argument from functional_ _explanation_. I will try to reveal the motivation (...)
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  17.  18
    Functional Explanation in Economics: A Qualified Defence.William A. Jackson - 2002 - Journal of Economic Methodology 9 (2):169-189.
    Economists seldom make explicit use of functional explanation, although they sometimes use it implicitly. Functional theorizing has lost favour among social scientists in recent years, and few are now willing to adopt functional language. This paper argues that, despite some drawbacks, explicit functional methods have several attractive features, including a pluralistic attitude to causality, an awareness of stratification and emergence, and a compatibility with a realist perspective. Functional methods on their own cannot provide full (...)
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  18.  26
    Functional Explanation and the Function of Explanation.T. Lombrozo & S. Carey - 2006 - Cognition 99 (2):167-204.
    Teleological explanations (TEs) account for the existence or properties of an entity in terms of a function: we have hearts because they pump blood, and telephones for communication. While many teleological explanations seem appropriate, others are clearly not warranted-for example, that rain exists for plants to grow. Five experiments explore the theoretical commitments that underlie teleological explanations. With the analysis of [Wright, L. (1976). Teleological Explanations. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press] from philosophy as a point of departure, we examine (...)
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  19.  40
    Cladistic Classification and Functional Explanation.P. E. Griffiths - 1994 - Philosophy of Science 61 (2):206-227.
    I adopt a cladistic view of species, and explore the possibility that there exists an equally valuable cladistic view of organismic traits. This suggestion seems to run counter to the stress on functional views of biological traits in recent work in philosophy and psychology. I show how the tension between these two views can be defused with a multilevel view of biological explanation. Despite the attractions of this compromise, I conclude that we must reject it, and adopt an (...)
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  20. Functional Explanation and Evolutionary Social Science.Harold Kincaid - manuscript
    From their conception to the present, the social sciences have invoked a kind of explanation that looks suspect by the standards of the natural sciences. They explain why social practices exist by reference to the purpose or needs they serve. Yet the purposes invoked are generally not the explicit purposes or needs of any individual but of society or social groups. For example, Durkheim claimed that the division of labor in society exists in order to promote social solidarity and (...)
     
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  21.  14
    Hempel's View on Functional Explanation Some Critical Comments.W. J. Van Der Steen - 1971 - Acta Biotheoretica 20 (3-4):171-178.
    Functional explanations are regarded as a special type of explanation by many biologists. Philosophers of science tend to agree that they are weak forms of the common modes of explanation, although the elucidation of the logical structure involved is difficult. The present paper shows that Hempel's reconstruction of functional explanations is inadequate on pragmatic grounds. Thus his conclusion that such explanations are necessarily weak is also objectionable. There is no reason for allotting functional explanations a (...)
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  22.  29
    Functional Explanation and Normalcy.Robert W. Burch - 1978 - Southwestern Journal of Philosophy 9 (1):45-53.
  23.  82
    Functions and Functional Explanation Revisited.Stavros Ioannidis - 2014 - Metascience 24 (2):253-258.
    Functions: selection and mechanisms is a collection of eleven original contributions to the philosophical debates surrounding functions. In the words of Philippe Huneman, editor of the volume, the aim of the book is to reflect “upon the metaphysics of function and the various problems that functional explanations raise” . This is accomplished by a diverse collection of chapters that focus on various aspects of the main topic. A collection such as this is certainly welcome. As Huneman notes in his (...)
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  24. Agent Causation, Functional Explanation, and Epiphenomenal Engines: Can Conscious Mental Events Be Causally Efficacious?Stuart Silvers - 2003 - Journal of Mind and Behavior 24 (2):197-228.
    Agent causation presupposes that actions are behaviors under the causal control of the agent’s mental states, its beliefs and desires. Here the idea of conscious causation in causal explanations of actions is examined, specifically, actions said to be the result of conscious efforts. Causal–functionalist theories of consciousness purport to be naturalistic accounts of the causal efficacy of consciousness. Flanagan argues that his causal–functionalist theory of consciousness satisfies naturalistic constraints on causation and that his causal efficacy thesis is compatible with results (...)
     
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  25.  10
    What Functions Explain: Functional Explanation and Self-Reproducing Systems.Peter Mclaughlin - 2002 - Mind 111 (444):888-891.
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  26.  5
    What Functions Explain. Functional Explanation and Self-Reproducing Systems.Peter Mclaughlin - 2002 - Erkenntnis 57 (1):123-126.
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  27.  31
    The Causal Background of Functional Explanation.Sandra D. Mitchell - 1989 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 3 (2):213 – 229.
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  28.  29
    Functional Explanation in Biology.Hugh Lehman - 1965 - Philosophy of Science 32 (1):1-20.
    This paper is concerned with the problem of giving a correct analysis of function statements as they are used in biology. Examples of such statements are (1) The function of the myelin sheath is to insulate the nerve fiber and (2) The function of chlorophyll is to enable photosynthesis to take place. After criticizing analyses of such statements developed by Braithwaite, Nagel and Hempel an analysis is presented by the author. Finally the question of whether function statements are explanations is (...)
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  29.  24
    Darwin, Functional Explanation, and the Philosophy of Psychiatry.Jerome C. Wakefield - 2011 - In Pieter R. Adriaens & Andreas de Block (eds.), Maladapting Minds: Philosophy, Psychiatry, and Evolutionary Theory. Oxford University Press. pp. 43--172.
  30.  63
    Galen's Teleology and Functional Explanation.Mark John Schiefsky - 2007 - Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy 33:369-400.
  31.  5
    Legal Systems, Intentionality, and a Functional Explanation of Law.Luka Burazin - 2019 - Jurisprudence 10 (2):229-236.
    Volume 10, Issue 2, June 2019, Page 229-236.
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  32. What Functions Explain: Functional Explanation and Self-Reproducing Systems. [REVIEW]Arno Wouters - 2006 - Acta Biotheoretica 54 (1):55-59.
  33.  13
    Causally Inefficient Knowledge and Functional Explanation.Harald Grimen - 1994 - Social Science Information 33 (1):117-127.
  34.  51
    What Functions Explain: Functional Explanation and Self-Reproducing Systems.David Chart - 2002 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 53 (4):593-596.
  35.  13
    Functional Explanation and the Problem of Functional Equivalence.James DiFrisco - 2017 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 65:1-8.
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  36.  34
    G. A. Cohen's Defense of Functional Explanation.Maurice Mandelbaum - 1982 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 12 (3):285-287.
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  37.  41
    Formal Traces in Cartesian Functional Explanation.Amelie Oksenberg Rorty - 1984 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 14 (4):545 - 560.
    In the Passion of the Soul Descartes sets out to explain the origins and structure of intentional voluntary action, to give an account of physical behavior and motion that has psychological and intellectual causes.Actually of course this is not at all what he says. He announces an analysis of the passions of the soul. But why does he define his subject as he does? His correspondence had forced a concern with questions of virtue. How is he to introduce an account (...)
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  38.  11
    G. A. Cohen's Functional Explanation.Agar Joly - 2003 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 33 (3):291-310.
  39.  17
    Historical Materialism, Dispositions, and Functional Explanation.Steven Walt - 1986 - Ethics 97 (1):196-218.
  40.  31
    Paul Sheldon Davies,Norms of Nature: Naturalism and the Nature of Function. A Bradford Book. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 2001; Peter McLaughlin,What Functions Explain: Functional Explanation and Self-Reproducing Systems. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001; Del Ratzsch,Nature, Design, and Science: The Status of Design in Natural Science. Albany: State University of New York Press, 2001. [REVIEW]Matthew Ratcliffe - 2003 - Metascience 12 (3):312-321.
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  41. Causal Role Theories of Functional Explanation.Mark B. Couch - 2011 - In James Fieser & Bradley Dowden (eds.), Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
     
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  42.  13
    Functional Explanation and the Linguistic Analogy.Philippe Van Parijs - 1979 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 9 (4):425-443.
  43.  37
    Walt on Historical Materialism and Functional Explanation.G. A. Cohen - 1986 - Ethics 97 (1):219-232.
  44.  35
    What Functions Explain. Functional Explanation and Self-Reproducing Systems, Peter McLaughlin.Gerhard Ernst - 2002 - Erkenntnis 57 (1):123-126.
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  45.  33
    A Note on Functional Explanation.Wilhelm K. Essler - 1978 - Erkenntnis 13 (1):371 - 376.
  46.  8
    What Functions Explain: Functional Explanation and Self‐reproducing Systems.Beth Preston - 2002 - Mind 111 (444):888-891.
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  47.  10
    A Note on Mandelbaum's ‘G. A. Cohen's Defense of Functional Explanation’.S. Walt - 1983 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 13 (4):483-485.
  48.  16
    A Case in Point: Morality and Paternalism in the Asbestos Industry: A Functional Explanation.Geoffrey Tweedale & Richard Warren - 1998 - Business Ethics 7 (2):87–96.
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  49.  10
    Metaphysical Quietism and Functional Explanation in the Law.Charles L. Barzun - 2015 - Law and Philosophy 34 (1):89-109.
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  50.  9
    Reid's Functional Explanation of Sensation.John-Christian Smith - 1986 - History of Philosophy Quarterly 3 (2):175 - 193.
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