A Goal-State Theory of Function Attributions

Canadian Journal of Philosophy 9 (3):493 - 518 (1979)
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Abstract

The analysis of function-ascribing statements, such as “the function of x is y”, is proving to be a difficult matter. It is difficult because we are only beginning to see the complexity which is involved in ascribing functions. The process of discovery has been slow and tedious, with each newly constructed analysis of the meaning of functional ascriptions yielding insights into the structure of functional analysis and functional explanation. However, as each analysis is, in turn, dismantled, we seem to see our insights slip away. In the wake of each exchange, a new member is added to the list of desiderata for an analysis of function-ascribing statements. Thus, the matter of finding a proper analysis of function attributions becomes more and more complex.

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Fred Adams
University of Delaware

Citations of this work

An organizational account of biological functions.Matteo Mossio, Cristian Saborido & Alvaro Moreno - 2009 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 60 (4):813-841.
The function debate in philosophy.Arno Wouters - 2005 - Acta Biotheoretica 53 (2):123-151.

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References found in this work

Functional analysis.Robert E. Cummins - 1975 - Journal of Philosophy 72 (November):741-64.
The Structure of Science.Ernest Nagel - 1961 - Les Etudes Philosophiques 17 (2):275-275.
Functions.Larry Wright - 1973 - Philosophical Review 82 (2):139-168.
Aspects of Scientific Explanation.Asa Kasher - 1965 - Journal of Symbolic Logic 37 (4):747-749.

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