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  1. Functions and Health at the Interface of Biology and Technology.Elselijn Kingma - 2020 - Noûs 54 (1):182-203.
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  • Power-ing up neo-aristotelian natural goodness.Ben Page - 2021 - Philosophical Studies 178 (11):3755-3775.
    Something is good insofar as it achieves its end, so says a neo-Aristotelian view of goodness. Powers/dispositions are paradigm cases of entities that have an end, so say many metaphysicians. A question therefore arises, namely, can one account for neo-Aristotelian goodness in terms of an ontology of powers? This is what I shall begin to explore in this paper. I will first provide a brief explication of both neo-Aristotelian goodness and the metaphysics of powers, before turning to investigate whether one (...)
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  • Against Etiological Function Accounts of Interests.Katie McShane - 2019 - Synthese 198 (4):3499-3517.
    The etiological account of function defines a part’s/trait’s function as whatever that part/trait does and was selected for doing. Some philosophers have tried to employ this as an account of biological interests, claiming that to benefit an organism is to promote its etiological functioning and to harm it is to inhibit such functioning. I argue that etiological functioning is not a good account of biological interests. I first describe the history of theories of biological interests, explaining the special role that (...)
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  • A Trilemma for Teleological Individualism.John Basl - 2017 - Synthese 194 (4):1027-1029.
    This paper addresses the foundations of Teleological Individualism, the view that organisms, even non-sentient organisms, are goal-oriented systems while biological collectives, such as ecosystems or conspecific groups, are mere assemblages of organisms. Typical defenses of Teleological Individualism ground the teleological organization of organisms in the workings of natural selection. This paper shows that grounding teleological organization in natural selection is antithetical to Teleological Individualism because such views assume a view about the units of selection on which it is only individual (...)
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  • Machines as Moral Patients We Shouldn’T Care About : The Interests and Welfare of Current Machines.John Basl - 2014 - Philosophy and Technology 27 (1):79-96.
    In order to determine whether current (or future) machines have a welfare that we as agents ought to take into account in our moral deliberations, we must determine which capacities give rise to interests and whether current machines have those capacities. After developing an account of moral patiency, I argue that current machines should be treated as mere machines. That is, current machines should be treated as if they lack those capacities that would give rise to psychological interests. Therefore, they (...)
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  • Teleology and Biocentrism.Sune Holm - 2017 - Synthese 194 (4).
    In this paper I examine the connection between accounts of biological teleology and the biocentrist claim that all living beings have a good of their own. I first present the background for biocentrists’ appeal to biological teleology. Then I raise a problem of scope for teleology-based biocentrism and, drawing in part on recent work by Basl and Sandler, I discuss Taylor and Varner’s responses to this problem. I then challenge Basl and Sandler’s own response to the scope problem for its (...)
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  • The Conception of Synthetic Entities From a Personalist Perspective.Lucía Gómez-Tatay, José Miguel Hernández-Andreu & Justo Aznar - 2019 - Science and Engineering Ethics 25 (1):97-111.
    Synthetic biology opens up the possibility of producing new entities not found in nature, whose classification as organisms or machines has been debated. In this paper we are focusing on the delimitation of the moral value of synthetic products, in order to establish the ethically right way to behave towards them. In order to do so, we use personalism as our ethical framework. First, we examine how we can distinguish between organisms and machines. Next, we discuss whether the products of (...)
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  • A Functional Naturalism.Anthony Nguyen - 2021 - Synthese 198 (1):295-313.
    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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  • The Ethics and Ontology of Synthetic Biology: a Neo-Aristotelian Perspective.Lewis Coyne - 2020 - NanoEthics 14 (1):43-55.
    This article is concerned with two interrelated questions: what, if anything, distinguishes synthetic from natural organisms, and to what extent, if any, creating the former is of moral significance. These are ontological and ethical questions, respectively. As the title indicates, I address both from a broadly neo-Aristotelian perspective, i.e. a teleological philosophy of life and virtue ethics. For brevity’s sake, I shall not argue for either philosophical position at length, but instead hope to demonstrate their legitimacy through their explanatory power. (...)
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