The function debate in philosophy

Acta Biotheoretica 53 (2):123-151 (2005)
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This paper reviews the debate on the notion of biological function and on functional explanation as this takes place in philosophy. It describes the different perspectives, issues, intuitions, theories and arguments that have emerged. The author shows that the debate has been too heavily influenced by the concerns of a naturalistic philosophy of mind and argues that in order to improve our understanding of biology the attention should be shifted from the study of intuitions to the study of the actual practice of biological inquiry.



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Arno Wouters
Utrecht University

Citations of this work

A Second Rebuttal On Health.Christopher Boorse - 2014 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 39 (6):683-724.
An organizational account of biological functions.Matteo Mossio, Cristian Saborido & Alvaro Moreno - 2009 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 60 (4):813-841.
A Dual-Aspect Theory of Artifact Function.Marc Artiga - 2023 - Erkenntnis 88 (4):1533-1554.
Function, homology and character individuation.Paul E. Griffiths - 2006 - Philosophy of Science 73 (1):1-25.

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References found in this work

On the origin of species.Charles Darwin - 2008 - New York: Oxford University Press. Edited by Gillian Beer.
Philosophy of Biology.Elliott Sober - 1993 - Boulder, Colo.: Westview Press.

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