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  1. added 2019-09-01
    Téléologie et fonctions en biologie. Une approche non causale des explications téléofonctionnelles.Alberto Molina Pérez - 2017 - Dissertation, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid
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  2. added 2019-08-03
    A Generalized Selected Effects Theory of Function.Justin Garson - 2017 - Philosophy of Science 84 (3):523-543.
    I present and defend the generalized selected effects theory (GSE) of function. According to GSE, the function of a trait consists in the activity that contributed to its bearer’s differential reproduction, or differential retention, within a population. Unlike the traditional selected effects (SE) theory, it does not require that the functional trait helped its bearer reproduce; differential retention is enough. Although the core theory has been presented previously, I go significantly beyond those presentations by providing a new argument for GSE (...)
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  3. added 2019-06-06
    How to Be a Realist About Sui Generis Teleology Yet Feel at Home in the 21St Century.Richard Cameron - 2004 - The Monist 87 (1):72-95.
    Contemporary discussion of biological teleology has been dominated by a complacent orthodoxy. Responsibility for this shortcoming rests primarily, I think, with those who ought to have been challenging dogma but have remained silent, leaving the orthodox to grow soft, if happily. In this silence, champions of orthodoxy have declared a signal victory, proclaiming the dominance of their view as one of philosophy’s historic successes. But this declaration is premature at best—this would be neither the first nor probably the last time (...)
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  4. added 2019-06-06
    The Experimental Foundations of Galen's Teleology.Christopher E. Cosans - 1998 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 29 (1):63-80.
    This article outlines in details specific experiments that Galen performed. It explores how his methodology for experimentation was a sophisticated response to the rationalist-empirist debate as it occurred in ancient medicine. -/- .
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  5. added 2019-05-01
    Do Constancy Mechanisms Save Distal Content?Justin Garson - 2019 - Philosophical Quarterly 69 (275):409-417.
    In this journal, Schulte develops a novel solution to the problem of distal content: by virtue of what is a mental representation about a distal object rather than a more proximal cause of that representation? Schulte maintains that in order for a representation to have a distal content, it must be produced by a constancy mechanism, along with two other conditions. I raise three objections to his solution. First, a core component of Schulte's solution is just a restrictive version of (...)
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  6. added 2019-05-01
    Teleosemantics, Selection and Novel Contents.Justin Garson & David Papineau - 2019 - Biology and Philosophy 34 (3):36.
    Mainstream teleosemantics is the view that mental representation should be understood in terms of biological functions, which, in turn, should be understood in terms of selection processes. One of the traditional criticisms of teleosemantics is the problem of novel contents: how can teleosemantics explain our ability to represent properties that are evolutionarily novel? In response, some have argued that by generalizing the notion of a selection process to include phenomena such as operant conditioning, and the neural selection that underlies it, (...)
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  7. added 2019-02-04
    An Organisational Approach to Biological Communication.Ramiro Frick, Leonardo Bich & Alvaro Moreno - 2019 - Acta Biotheoretica (2):103-128.
    This paper aims to provide a philosophical and theoretical account of biological communication grounded in the notion of organisation. The organisational approach characterises living systems as organised in such a way that they are capable to self-produce and self-maintain while in constant interaction with the environment. To apply this theoretical framework to the study of biological communication, we focus on a specific approach, based on the notion of influence, according to which communication takes place when a signal emitted by a (...)
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  8. added 2018-10-29
    A Functional Naturalism.Anthony Nguyen - 2018 - Synthese 2002.
    I provide two arguments against value-free naturalism. Both are based on considerations concerning biological teleology. Value-free naturalism is the thesis that both (1) everything is, at least in principle, under the purview of the sciences and (2) all scientific facts are purely non-evaluative. First, I advance a counterexample to any analysis on which natural selection is necessary to biological teleology. This should concern the value-free naturalist, since most value-free analyses of biological teleology appeal to natural selection. My counterexample is unique (...)
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  9. added 2018-04-08
    Evolution's Arrow: The Direction of Evolution and the Future of Humanity.John E. Stewart - 2000 - Canberra: The Chapman Press.
    Evolution's Arrow argues that evolution is directional and progressive, and that this has major consequences for humanity. Without resort to teleology, the book demonstrates that evolution moves in the direction of producing cooperative organisations of greater scale and evolvability - evolution has organised molecular processes into cells, cells into organisms, and organisms into societies. The book founds this position on a new theory of the evolution of cooperation. It shows that self-interest at the level of the genes does not prevent (...)
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  10. added 2018-02-17
    On Nature and Normativity: Normativity, Teleology, and Mechanism in Biological Explanation.Lenny Moss & Daniel J. Nicholson - 2012 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 43 (1):88-91.
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  11. added 2018-02-16
    The Ontology of Aristotle's Final Cause.Rich Cameron - 2002 - Apeiron 35 (2):153-179.
    Modern philosophy is, for what appear to be good reasons, uniformly hostile to sui generis final causes. And motivated to develop philosophically and scientifically plausible interpretations, scholars have increasingly offered reductivist and eliminitivist accounts of Aristotle's teleological commitment. This trend in contemporary scholarship is misguided. We have strong grounds to believe Aristotle accepted unreduced sui generis teleology, and reductivist and eliminitivist accounts face insurmountable textual and philosophical difficulties. We offer Aristotelians cold comfort by replacing his apparent view with failed accounts. (...)
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  12. added 2018-02-02
    How to Be a Function Pluralist.Justin Garson - 2018 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 69 (4):1101-1122.
    I distinguish two forms of pluralism about biological functions, between-discipline pluralism and within-discipline pluralism. Between-discipline pluralism holds that different theories of function are appropriate for different subdisciplines of biology and psychology. I provide reasons for rejecting this view. Instead, I recommend within-discipline pluralism, which emphasizes the plurality of function concepts at play within any given subdiscipline of biology and psychology.
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  13. added 2018-02-02
    Against Organizational Functions.Justin Garson - 2017 - Philosophy of Science 84 (5):1093-1103.
    Over the last 20 years, several philosophers have developed a new approach to biological functions, the organizational approach. This is not a single theory but a family of theories based on the idea that a trait token can acquire a function by virtue of the way it contributes to a complex, organized system and thereby to its own continued persistence as a token. I argue that the organizational approach faces a serious liberality objection. I examine three different ways organizational theorists (...)
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  14. added 2017-10-06
    De kloof tussen zin en zijn. Darwinisme, doelen en ons zoeken naar zin.Pouwel Slurink - 1993 - In University of Nijmegen Ria van den Brandt (ed.), Het heil van de filosofie. Baarn, the Netherlands: Ambo. pp. 116-147.
    Philosophical questions can often be answered using evolutionary biology and evolutionary psychology. Of course, one needs a sound epistemology and philosophy os science to do so. Phenomenology and hermeneutics offer no escape route, however, because they are based on a wrong model of science. Evolutionary biology can explain teleology, the organization of nature, altruïsm, morality, and even our quest for meaning.
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  15. added 2017-06-27
    How Objective Are Biological Functions?Marcel Weber - 2017 - Synthese 194 (12):4741-4755.
    John Searle has argued that functions owe their existence to the value that we put into life and survival. In this paper, I will provide a critique of Searle’s argument concerning the ontology of functions. I rely on a standard analysis of functional predicates as relating not only a biological entity, an activity that constitutes the function of this entity and a type of system but also a goal state. A functional attribution without specification of such a goal state has (...)
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  16. added 2017-03-19
    Function and Teleology.Justin Garson - 2008 - In Anya Plutynski & Sahotra Sarkar (eds.), A Companion to the Philosophy of Biology. Malden, MA: Blackwell. pp. 525-549.
    This is a short overview of the biological functions debate in philosophy. While it was fairly comprehensive when it was written, my short book ​A Critical Overview of Biological Functions has largely supplanted it as a definitive and up-to-date overview of the debate, both because the book takes into account new developments since then, and because the length of the book allowed me to go into substantially more detail about existing views.
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  17. added 2017-02-11
    Function, Selection, and Construction in the Brain.Justin Garson - 2012 - Synthese 189 (3):451-481.
    A common misunderstanding of the selected effects theory of function is that natural selection operating over an evolutionary time scale is the only functionbestowing process in the natural world. This construal of the selected effects theory conflicts with the existence and ubiquity of neurobiological functions that are evolutionary novel, such as structures underlying reading ability. This conflict has suggested to some that, while the selected effects theory may be relevant to some areas of evolutionary biology, its relevance to neuroscience is (...)
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  18. added 2017-01-16
    Wie Epigenetik unser Weltbild ins Lot bringen kann.Paul Gottlob Layer - 2016 - BRIEFE Zur Orientierung Im Konflikt Mensch - Erde, Evangelische Akademie Sachsen-Anhalt E.V 121 (4):25-33.
    Seit der Aufklärung versucht der Mensch, Gott abzuschaffen. Dabei fällt der Zufälligkeit, und damit auch der Ziellosigkeit in der darwinistischen Sicht der Evolution besonderes Gewicht zu. Diese weithin akzeptierten Dogmen stehen diametral gegen jahrtausendealte Vorstellungen, die letztlich in allen Kulturen und Religionen hervorgebracht wurden, daß die Natur eine Schöpfung Gottes sei, in der der Mensch das höchste, Gott-ebenbildliche Wesen sei. Nach Erkenntnissen der klassischen Genetik schienen Gene an die Stelle von Gott getreten zu sein: sie haben absolute Gewalt und beherrschen (...)
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  19. added 2016-12-08
    A Teleofunctional Account of Evolutionary Mismatch.Nathan Cofnas - 2016 - Biology and Philosophy 31 (4):507-525.
    When the environment in which an organism lives deviates in some essential way from that to which it is adapted, this is described as “evolutionary mismatch,” or “evolutionary novelty.” The notion of mismatch plays an important role, explicitly or implicitly, in evolution-informed cognitive psychology, clinical psychology, and medicine. The evolutionary novelty of our contemporary environment is thought to have significant implications for our health and well-being. However, scientists have generally been working without a clear definition of mismatch. This paper defines (...)
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  20. added 2016-11-13
    Biologische Funktionen und das Teleologieproblem.Geert Keil - 2007 - In Ludger Honnefelder & Matthias C. Schmidt (eds.), Naturalismus als Paradigma. Berlin University Press. pp. 76-85.
    Die im Beitrag behandelte Frage, ob sich die organische Natur des Menschen sowie seine Gesundheits- und Krankheitszustände naturalistisch auffassen lassen, erscheint zunächst irritierend. Ist nicht der Mensch als Säugetier ein natürliches Phänomen par excellence? Wie alle anderen Tiere kann der Mensch gesund oder krank sein, weil er einen Körper hat, dessen vielfältige biologische Funktionen störungsanfällig sind. Was sollte es hier noch zu naturalisieren geben? Integrieren sich Organismus, Gesundheit und Krankheit nicht gleichsam von selbst in ein naturwissenschaftliches Weltbild? Die zu klärende (...)
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  21. added 2016-10-07
    Descartes on the Theory of Life and Methodology in the Life Sciences.Karen Detlefsen - 2016 - In Peter Distelzweig & Evan Ragland (eds.), Early Modern Medicine and Natural Philosophy. Springer. pp. 141-72.
    As a practicing life scientist, Descartes must have a theory of what it means to be a living being. In this paper, I provide an account of what his theoretical conception of living bodies must be. I then show that this conception might well run afoul of his rejection of final causal explanations in natural philosophy. Nonetheless, I show how Descartes might have made use of such explanations as merely hypothetical, even though he explicitly blocks this move. I conclude by (...)
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  22. added 2016-09-03
    Teleonomy.Boris Hennig - 2011 - Logical Analysis and History of Philosophy 14.
    The distinction between teleology and teleonomy that biologists sometimes refer to seems to be helpful in certain contexts, but it is used in several different ways and has rarely been clearly drawn. This paper discusses three prominent uses of the term “teleonomy” and traces its history back to what seems to be its first use. This use is examined in detail and then justified and refined on the basis of elements found in the philosophy of Aristotle, Kant, Anscombe and others. (...)
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  23. added 2016-05-08
    If the Motor System is No Mirror'.Maria Brincker - 2012 - In Payette (ed.), Connected Minds: Cognition and Interaction in the Social World. Cambridge Scholars Press. pp. 158--182.
    Largely aided by the neurological discovery of so-called “ mirror neurons,” the attention to motor activity during action observation has exploded over the last two decades. The idea that we internally “ mirror ” the actions of others has led to a new strand of implicit simulation theories of action understanding[1][2]. The basic idea of this sort of simulation theory is that we, via an automatic covert activation of our own action representations, can understand the action and possibly the goal (...)
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  24. added 2016-03-14
    Objetividad versus inteligibilidad de las funciones biológicas: La paradoja normativa y el autismo epistemológico de las ciencias modernas.Alberto Molina Pérez - 2006 - Ludus Vitalis 14 (26):39-67.
    Finality, design and purpose have started to be excluded from the language of the natural sciences since the XVIIth century. Darwin succeeded in excluding them from his theory of evolution appealing to a blind and mechanical natural selection. Today, the most usual definitions for the concept of biological function take for granted that functions: 1) are not dependent on a goal; 2) are not dependent on observers, but only on nature; 3) are explicable in causal terms, either with reference to (...)
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  25. added 2015-09-20
    Biosemiotics, Aboutness, Meaning and Bio-Intentionality. Proposal for an Evolutionary Approach (Biosemiotics Gatherings 2015).Christophe Menant - manuscript
    The management of meaningful information by biological entities is at the core of biosemiotics [Hoffmeyer 2010]. Intentionality, the ‘aboutness’ of mental states, is a key driver in philosophy of mind. Philosophers have been reluctant to use intentionality for non human animals. Some biologists have been in favor of it. J. Hoffmeyer has been using evolutionary intentionality and Peircean semiotics to discuss a biosemiotic approach to the problem of intentionality [Hoffmeyer 1996, 2012]. Also, recent philosophical studies are bringing new openings on (...)
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  26. added 2015-09-08
    Aristóteles y la lluvia, una vez más [Aristotle and the Rain, Once Again].Gabriela Rossi - 2010 - Dianoia 55 (65):91-123.
    The text of Physics 2.8 has been recently interpreted so as to restore the reading that Aristotle holds an external, and even an anthropocentric, natural teleology. This reading has been defended by D. Furley, and especially by D. Sedley. In this paper I present several arguments against this interpretation of the text. Thus, I will argue that Aristotle does not claim, in this chapter, that it rains for the sake of the growing of the crop, against an opinion which is (...)
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  27. added 2015-04-11
    From Aristotle’s Teleology to Darwin’s Genealogy: The Stamp of Inutility, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015 (Pdf: Contents, Introduction).Marco Solinas - 2015 - Palgrave-Macmillan.
    Starting with Aristotle and moving on to Darwin, Marco Solinas outlines the basic steps from the birth, establishment and later rebirth of the traditional view of living beings, and its overturning by evolutionary revolution. The classic framework devised by Aristotle was still dominant in the 17th Century world of Galileo, Harvey and Ray, and remained hegemonic until the time of Lamarck and Cuvier in the 19th Century. Darwin's breakthrough thus takes on the dimensions of an abandonment of the traditional finalistic (...)
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  28. added 2015-04-11
    Teleology and the Meaning of Life.Osamu Kiritani - 2012 - Journal of Mind and Behavior 33 (1-2):97-102.
    The “units of selection” debate in philosophy of biology addresses which entity benefits from natural selection. Nanay has tried to explain why we are obsessed with the question about the meaning of life, using the notion of group selection, although he is skeptical about answering the question from a biological point of view. The aim of this paper is to give a biological explanation to the meaning of life. I argue that the meaning of life is survival and reproduction, appealing (...)
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  29. added 2014-03-07
    ‘What’s Teleology Got To Do With It?’ A Reinterpretation of Aristotle’s Generation of Animals V.Mariska Leunissen & Allan Gotthelf - 2010 - Phronesis 55 (4):325-356.
    Despite the renewed interest in Aristotle’s Generation of Animals in recent years, the subject matter of GA V, its preferred mode(s) of explanation, and its place in the treatise as a whole remain misunderstood. Scholars focus on GA I-IV, which explain animal generation in terms of efficient-final causation, but dismiss GA V as a mere appendix, thinking it to concern (a) individual, accidental differences among animals, which are (b) purely materially necessitated, and (c) are only tangentially related to the topics (...)
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  30. added 2014-02-12
    L'impronta dell'inutilità. Dalla teleologia di Aristotele alle genealogie di Darwin (pdf: Introduzione).Marco Solinas - 2012 - ETS.
    The book aims to offer a contribution to the historiographical and conceptual reconfiguration of the evolutionary revolution in the light of the centuries-old tenets of the Aristotelian biological tradition. Darwin’s breakthrough constitutes a thorough overturning of the fixist, essentialist and teleological framework created by Aristotle, a framework still dominant in the 17th Century world of Harvey and Ray, as well as Galileo, and then hegemonic until Linnaeus and Cuvier. This change is exemplified in the morphological analysis of useless parts, such (...)
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  31. added 2013-11-18
    Biological Autonomy.Attila Grandpierre & Menas Kafatos - 2012 - Philosophy Study 2 (9):631-649.
    We argue that genuine biological autonomy, or described at human level as free will, requires taking into account quantum vacuum processes in the context of biological teleology. One faces at least three basic problems of genuine biological autonomy: (1) if biological autonomy is not physical, where does it come from? (2) Is there a room for biological causes? And (3) how to obtain a workable model of biological teleology? It is shown here that the solution of all these three problems (...)
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  32. added 2013-11-17
    Nothing Good Will Come From Giving Up on Aetiological Accounts of Teleology.John Basl - 2012 - Philosophy and Technology 25 (4):543-546.
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  33. added 2013-11-15
    Nature as a Good Housekeeper. Secondary Teleology and Material Necessity in Aristotle’s Biology.Mariska Leunissen - 2010 - Apeiron 43 (4):117-142.
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  34. added 2013-11-14
    Biology and Teleology in Aristotle’s Account of the City.Mariska Leunissen - forthcoming - In Julius Rocca (ed.), Teleology in the Ancient World: The Dispensation of Nature. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
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  35. added 2013-08-27
    Ohne Telos und Substanz. Grenzen des naturwissenschaftlichen Kausalitätsverständnisses.Gregor Schiemann - 1998 - In Paideia. Philosophy of Science XX. World Congress for Philosophy 1998). pp. 1-8.
    Die Zeiten, in denen Kausalität das Charakteristikum von Wissenschaftlichkeit war, scheinen sich ihrem Ende zu nähern. Seit dem Beginn unseres Jahrhunderts ist eine seit langem schwelende Krise des herkömmlichen Kausalitätsverständnisses in den Naturwissenschaften unübersehbar zum Ausdruck gekommen. Dessen ungeachtet halten jedoch viele Wissenschaftstheoretiker an Kausalitätsvorstellungen als vermeintlich unverzichtbarem Analyseinstrument fest. In Kritik dieser Tendenz zur Verkennung eines grundlegenden Bedeutungsverlustes wird der historische Verdrängungsprozess von Kausalitätsvorstellungen unter den Stichworten der Entfinalisierung und Entsubstantialisierung nachgezeichnet. Aus der Perspektive geschichtlicher Rekonstruktion handelt es sich (...)
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  36. added 2013-01-26
    A Biological Account of Design in Nature.Attila Grandpierre - 2012 - In Swan Liz, Gordon Richard & Seckbach Joseph (eds.), Origin of Design in Nature.
    We consider first the most fundamental „design in Nature”, the explanatory structure of the Universe on the basis of the natural sciences, and the related problem of teleology in Nature. We point out that it is necessary to generalize the presently used explanatory scheme of physics. We derive here the first essentially complete scientific world picture, and obtain new insights answering to the problem of cosmic design. Considering some important objections against teleology, we present counter-arguments, give a new classification of (...)
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  37. added 2012-04-16
    The Extravagant Creator of Junk DNA.James Goetz - 2006 - International Society for Complexity, Information, and Design Archive.
    Denton proposes a hypothesis of frontloaded teleological evolution while Denton suggests that a vast amount of junk DNA is incompatible with his model of teleology and perhaps any model of teleology. This paper outlines a hypothesis for a vast amount of junk DNA with no selective constraints, and proposes that the junk DNA is compatible with teleological evolution that included occasional intervention during the history of adaptive evolution. And this paper introduces a hypothesis for the necessity of intervention in the (...)
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  38. added 2012-02-12
    Optimality and Teleology in Aristotle's Natural Science.Devin Henry - manuscript
    In this paper I examine the role of optimality reasoning in Aristotle’s natural science. By “optimality reasoning” I mean reasoning that appeals to some conception of “what is best” in order to explain why things are the way they are. We are first introduced to this pattern of reasoning in the famous passage at Phaedo 97b8-98a2, where (Plato’s) Socrates invokes “what is best” as a cause (aitia) of things in nature. This passage can be seen as the intellectual ancestor of (...)
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  39. added 2011-11-19
    Teleomechanism Redux? The Conceptual Hybridity of Living Machines in Early Modern Natural Philosophy.Charles T. Wolfe - manuscript
    We have been accustomed at least since Kant and mainstream history of philosophy to distinguish between the ‘mechanical’ and the ‘teleological’; between a fully mechanistic, quantitative science of Nature exemplified by Newton and a teleological, qualitative approach to living beings ultimately expressed in the concept of ‘organism’ – a purposive entity, or at least an entity possessed of functions. The beauty of this distinction is that it seems to make intuitive sense and to map onto historical and conceptual constellations in (...)
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