Function, homology and character individuation

Philosophy of Science 73 (1):1-25 (2006)
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Abstract

I defend the view that many biological categories are defined by homology against a series of arguments designed to show that all biological categories are defined, at least in part, by selected function. I show that categories of homology are `abnormality inclusive'—something often alleged to be unique to selected function categories. I show that classifications by selected function are logically dependent on classifications by homology, but not vice-versa. Finally, I reject the view that biologists must use considerations of selected function to abstract away from variation and pathology to form a canonical description of a class of biological systems.

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2009-01-28

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Paul Edmund Griffiths
University of Sydney

Citations of this work

A Generalized Selected Effects Theory of Function.Justin Garson - 2017 - Philosophy of Science 84 (3):523-543.
The Functional Sense of Mechanism.Justin Garson - 2013 - Philosophy of Science 80 (3):317-333.
How to Be a Function Pluralist.Justin Garson - 2018 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 69 (4):1101-1122.

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References found in this work

Functional analysis.Robert Cummins - 1975 - Journal of Philosophy 72 (November):741-64.
The Study of Instinct.N. Tinbergen - 1954 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 5 (17):72-76.

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