Function, fitness and disposition

Biology and Philosophy 10 (1):39-54 (1995)
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Abstract

In this paper I discuss recent debates concerning etiological theories of functions. I defend an etiological theory against two criticisms, namely the ability to account for malfunction, and the problem of structural doubles. I then consider the arguments provided by Bigelow and Pargetter (1987) for a more forward looking account of functions as propensities or dispositions. I argue that their approach fails to address the explanatory problematic for which etiological theories were developed.

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Sandra Mitchell
University of Pittsburgh

Citations of this work

Etiological theories of function: A geographical survey.David J. Buller - 1998 - Biology and Philosophy 13 (4):505-527.
The function debate in philosophy.Arno Wouters - 2005 - Acta Biotheoretica 53 (2):123-151.
Fitness and function.D. M. Walsh - 1996 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 47 (4):553-574.

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