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  1. Norms of Intentionality: Norms That Don’T Guide.Benjamin Jarvis - 2012 - Philosophical Studies 157 (1):1-25.
    More than ever, it is in vogue to argue that no norms either play a role in or directly follow from the theory of mental content. In this paper, I present an intuitive theory of intentionality (including a theory of mental content) on which norms are constitutive of the intentional properties of attitude and content in order to show that this trend is misguided. Although this theory of intentionality—the teleological theory of intentional representation—does involve a commitment to representational norms, these (...)
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  • Téléologie et fonctions en biologie. Une approche non causale des explications téléofonctionnelles.Alberto Molina Pérez - 2017 - Dissertation, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid
    This dissertation is focused on teleology and functions in biology. More precisely, it focuses on the scientific legitimacy of teleofunctional attributions and explanations in biology. It belongs to a multi-faceted debate that can be traced back to at least the 1970s. One aspect of the debate concerns the naturalization of functions. Most authors try to reduce, translate or explain functions and teleology in terms of efficient causes so that they find their place in the framework of the natural sciences. Our (...)
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  • The Concept of Disorder Revisited: Robustly VAlue-Laden Despite Change.I.—Rachel Cooper - 2020 - Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 94 (1):141-161.
    Our concept of disorder is changing. This causes problems for projects of descriptive conceptual analysis. Conceptual change means that a criterion that was necessary for a condition to be a disorder at one time may cease to be necessary a relatively short time later. Nevertheless, some conceptually based claims will be fairly robust. In particular, the claim that no adequate account of disorder can appeal only to biological facts can be maintained for the foreseeable future. This is because our current (...)
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  • A Functional Naturalism.Anthony Nguyen - forthcoming - Synthese.
    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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  • Gould and Lewontin Against the Adaptacionist Program.Santiago Ginnobili & Daniel Blanco - 2007 - Scientiae Studia 5 (1):35-48.
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  • Real Algorithms: A Defense of Cognitivism.John Bolender - 1998 - Philosophical Inquiry 20 (3-4):41-58.
    John Searle dismisses the attempt to understand thought as a form of computation, on the grounds that it is not scientific. Science is concerned with intrinsic properties, i.e. those features which are not observer relative, e.g. science is concerned with mass but not with beauty. Computation, according to Searle, presupposes the property of following an algorithm, but algorithmicity is normative, by reason of appealing to function, and hence not intrinsic. I argue that Searle's critique presupposes the folk notion of function, (...)
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  • Can We Define Mental Disorder by Using the Criterion of Mental Dysfunction?Thomas Schramme - 2010 - Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 31 (1):35-47.
    The concept of mental disorder is often defined by reference to the notion of mental dysfunction, which is in line with how the concept of disease in somatic medicine is often defined. However, the notions of mental function and dysfunction seem to suffer from some problems that do not affect models of physiological function. Functions in general have a teleological structure; they are effects of traits that are supposed to have a particular purpose, such that, for example, the heart serves (...)
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  • Duties Regarding Nature: A Kantian Environmental Ethic.Toby Svoboda - 2015 - Routledge.
    In this book, Toby Svoboda develops and defends a Kantian environmental virtue ethic, challenging the widely-held view that Kant's moral philosophy takes an instrumental view toward nature and animals and has little to offer environmental ethics. On the contrary, Svoboda posits that there is good moral reason to care about non-human organisms in their own right and to value their flourishing independently of human interests, since doing so is constitutive of certain virtues. Svoboda argues that Kant’s account of indirect duties (...)
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  • Making the Most of Clade Selection.W. Ford Doolittle - 2017 - Philosophy of Science 84 (2):275-295.
    Clade selection is unpopular with philosophers who otherwise accept multilevel selection theory. Clades cannot reproduce, and reproduction is widely thought necessary for evolution by natural selection, especially of complex adaptations. Using microbial evolutionary processes as heuristics, I argue contrariwise, that (1) clade growth (proliferation of contained species) substitutes for clade reproduction in the evolution of complex adaptation, (2) clade-level properties favoring persistence – species richness, dispersal, divergence, and possibly intraclade cooperation – are not collapsible into species-level traits, (3) such properties (...)
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  • 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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  • A Plea for the Plurality of Function.Tony Cheng - 2016 - Review of Contemporary Philosophy 15:70-81.
    In this paper I defend a pluralistic approach in understanding function, both in biological and other contexts. Talks about function are ubiquitous and crucial in biology, and it might be the key to bridge the “manifest image” and the “scientific image” identified by Sellars (1962). However, analysis of function has proven to be extremely difficult. The major puzzle is to make sense of “time-reversed causality”: how can property P be the cause of its realizer R? For example, “pumping blood” is (...)
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  • 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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  • 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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  • Re-Evaluating Concepts of Biological Function in Clinical Medicine: Towards a New Naturalistic Theory of Disease.Benjamin Chin-Yee & Ross E. G. Upshur - 2017 - Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 38 (4):245-264.
    Naturalistic theories of disease appeal to concepts of biological function, and use the notion of dysfunction as the basis of their definitions. Debates in the philosophy of biology demonstrate how attributing functions in organisms and establishing the function-dysfunction distinction is by no means straightforward. This problematization of functional ascription has undermined naturalistic theories and led some authors to abandon the concept of dysfunction, favoring instead definitions based in normative criteria or phenomenological approaches. Although this work has enhanced our understanding of (...)
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  • Varieties of Naturalized Epistemology: Criticisms and Alternatives.Benjamin Bayer - 2007 - Dissertation, University of Illinois
    “Naturalized epistemology” is a recent attempt to transform the theory of knowledge into a branch of natural science. Traditional epistemologists object to this proposal on the grounds that it eliminates the distinctively philosophical content of epistemology. In this thesis, I argue that traditional philosophers are justified in their reluctance to accept naturalism, but that their ongoing inability to refute it points to deeper problems inherent in traditional epistemology. I establish my thesis first by critiquing three versions of naturalism, showing that (...)
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  • Supple Laws in Psychology and Biology.Mark Bedau - manuscript
    The nature and status of psychological laws are a long-standing controversy. I will argue that part of the controversy stems from the distinctive nature of an important subset of those laws, which I’ll call “supple laws.” An emergent-model strategy taken by the new interdisciplinary field of artificial life provides a strikingly successful understanding of analogously supple laws in biology. So, after reviewing the failures of the two evident strategies for understanding supple psychological laws, I’ll turn for inspiration to emergent-models explanations (...)
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  • Four Puzzles About Life.Mark Bedau - manuscript
    To surmount the notorious difficulties of defining life, we should evaluate theories of life not by whether they provide necessary and sufficient conditions for our current preconceptions about life but by how well they explain living phenomena and how satisfactorily they resolve puzzles about life. On these grounds, the theory of life as supple adaptation (Bedau 1996) gets support from its natural and compelling resolutions of the following four puzzles: (1) How are different forms of life at different levels of (...)
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  • Liberal Naturalism and Non-Epistemic Values.Ricardo Crespo - 2019 - Foundations of Science 24 (2):247-273.
    The ‘value-free ideal’ has been called into question for several reasons. It does not include “epistemic values”—viewed as characteristic of ‘good science’—and rejects the so-called ‘contextual’, ‘non-cognitive’ or ‘non-epistemic’ values—all of them personal, moral, or political values. This paper analyzes a possible complementary argument about the dubitable validity of the value-free ideal, specifically focusing on social sciences, with a two-fold strategy. First, it will consider that values are natural facts in a broad or ‘liberal naturalist’ sense and, thus, a legitimate (...)
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  • Philosophy and Default Descriptivism: The Functions Debate.Björn Brunnander - 2011 - Metaphilosophy 42 (4):417-430.
    Abstract: By focusing on contributions to the literature on function ascription, this article seeks to illustrate two problems with philosophical accounts that are presented as having descriptive aims. There is a motivational problem in that there is frequently no good reason why descriptive aims should be important, and there is a methodological problem in that the methods employed frequently fail to match the task description. This suggests that the task description as such may be the result of “default descriptivism,” a (...)
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  • A teleologia na biologia contemporânea.Marcelo Alves Ferreira - 2003 - Scientiae Studia 1 (2):183-193.
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  • What Did Popper Learn From Lakatos?Bence Nanay - 2017 - British Journal for the History of Philosophy 25 (6):1202-1215.
    The canonical version of the history of twentieth century philosophy of science tells us that Lakatos was Popper’s disciple, but it is rarely mentioned that Popper would have learned anything from Lakatos. The aim of this paper is to examine Lakatos’ influence on Popper’s philosophical system and to argue that Lakatos did have an important, yet somewhat unexpected, impact on Popper’s thinking: he influenced Popper’s evolutionary model for ‘progress’ in science. And Lakatos’ influence sheds new light on why and how (...)
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  • Symmetry Between the Intentionality of Minds and Machines? The Biological Plausibility of Dennett’s Account.Bence Nanay - 2006 - Minds and Machines 16 (1):57-71.
    One of the most influential arguments against the claim that computers can think is that while our intentionality is intrinsic, that of computers is derived: it is parasitic on the intentionality of the programmer who designed the computer-program. Daniel Dennett chose a surprising strategy for arguing against this asymmetry: instead of denying that the intentionality of computers is derived, he endeavours to argue that human intentionality is derived too. I intend to examine that biological plausibility of Dennett’s suggestion and show (...)
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  • Teleology and World From Different Perspectives: Philosophy of Mind and Transcendental Phenomenology.Rodolfo Giorgi & Danilo Manca - 2018 - Humana Mente 11 (34).
    During the last century, most philosophers of science have tried to expunge teleological explanations from the fields of epistemology. They took for granted that the Darwinian concepts of natural selection and evolution effectively dispense us with any presence of goal-directedness in nature: based on an anti-metaphysical attitude, they hold purposes and goals to be of religious and spiritual nature, thereby obstacles to any effective comprehension of biological processes. Accordingly, teleological categories have been abandoned in many ways in favor of mechanical (...)
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  • Ontology and Teleofunctions: A Defense and Revision of the Systematic Account of Teleological Explanation.Craig S. Delancey - 2006 - Synthese 150 (1):69-98.
    I defend and revise the systematic account of normative functions (teleofunctions), as recently developed by Gerhard Schlosser and by W. D. Christensen and M. H. Bickhard. This account proposes that teleofunctions are had by structures that play certain kinds of roles in complex systems. This theory is an alternative to the historical etiological account of teleofunctions, developed by Ruth Millikan and others. The historical etiological account is susceptible to a general ontological problem that has been under-appreciated, and that offers important (...)
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  • The Problem of the Emergence of Functional Diversity in Prebiotic Evolution.Alvaro Moreno & Kepa Ruiz-Mirazo - 2009 - Biology and Philosophy 24 (5):585-605.
    Since Darwin it is widely accepted that natural selection (NS) is the most important mechanism to explain how biological organisms—in their amazing variety—evolve and, therefore, also how the complexity of certain natural systems can increase over time, creating ever new functions or functional structures/relationships. Nevertheless, the way in which NS is conceived within Darwinian Theory already requires an open, wide enough, functional domain where selective forces may act. And, as the present paper will try to show, this becomes even more (...)
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  • The Return of the Replicator: What is Philosophically Significant in a General Account of Replication and Selection? [REVIEW]Bence Nanay - 2002 - Biology and Philosophy 17 (1):109-121.
    The aim of this paper is to outline a typologyof selection processes, and show that differentsub-categories have different explanatorypower. The basis of this typology of selectionprocesses is argued to be the difference ofreplication processes involved in them. Inorder to show this, I argue that: 1.Replication is necessary for selection and 2.Different types of replication lead todifferent types of selection. Finally, it isargued that this typology is philosophicallysignificant, since it contrasts cases ofselection (on the basis of the replicationprocesses involved in them) (...)
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  • A Kantian Stance on the Intentional Stance.Matthew Ratcliffe - 2001 - Biology and Philosophy 16 (1):29-52.
    I examine the way in which Daniel Dennett (1987, 1995) uses his 'intentional' and 'design' stances to make the claim that intentionality is derived from design. I suggest that Dennett is best understood as attempting to supply an objective, nonintentional, naturalistic rationale for our use of intentional concepts. However, I demonstrate that his overall picture presupposes prior application of the intentional stance in a preconditional, ineliminable,'sense-giving' role. Construed as such, Dennett's account is almost identical to the account of biological teleology (...)
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  • Why is Warrant Normative?Peter J. Graham - 2019 - Philosophical Issues 29 (1):110-128.
    Having an etiological function to F is sufficient to have a competence to F. Having an etiological function to reliably F is sufficient to have a reliable competence, a competence to reliably F. Epistemic warrant consists in the normal functioning of the belief-forming process when the process has forming true beliefs reliably as an etiological function. Epistemic warrant requires reliable competence. Warrant divides into two grades. The first consists in normal functioning, when the process has forming true beliefs reliably as (...)
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  • Hylomorphism: A Critical Analysis.Antonella Corradini - 2019 - Acta Analytica 34 (3):345-361.
    In this essay, I examine those versions of hylomorphism that attribute to form a very strong explicative role. According to them, form is both the source of new emergent powers and expression of the finalist structure of organisms. The main aim of this essay is to show that these two aspects do not holdup because the form only exercises a structural function, but does not exert an autonomous explanatory function. The form only allows the material components to develop those powers (...)
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  • Theoretical Ecology as Etiological From the Start.Justin Donhauser - 2016 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 60:67-76.
    The world’s leading environmental advisory institutions look to ecological theory and research as an objective guide for policy and resource management decision-making. In addition to various theoretical merits of doing so, it is therefore crucially important to clear up confusions about ecology’s conceptual foundations and to make plain the basic workings of inferential methods used in the science. Through discussion of key moments in the genesis of the theoretical branch of ecology, this essay elucidates a general heuristic role of teleological (...)
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  • Chasing Shadows: Natural Selection and Adaptation.D. M. Walsh - 2000 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 31 (1):135-153.
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  • Plantinga on Functions and the Theory of Evolution.Michael Levin - 1997 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 75 (1):83 – 98.
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  • What Makes Biological Organisation Teleological?Matteo Mossio & Leonardo Bich - 2017 - Synthese 194 (4):1089-1114.
    This paper argues that biological organisation can be legitimately conceived of as an intrinsically teleological causal regime. The core of the argument consists in establishing a connection between organisation and teleology through the concept of self-determination: biological organisation determines itself in the sense that the effects of its activity contribute to determine its own conditions of existence. We suggest that not any kind of circular regime realises self-determination, which should be specifically understood as self-constraint: in biological systems, in particular, self-constraint (...)
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  • Two Bad Ways to Attack Intelligent Design and Two Good Ones.Jeffrey Koperski - 2008 - Zygon 43 (2):433-449.
    Four arguments are examined in order to assess the state of the Intelligent Design debate. First, critics continually cite the fact that ID proponents have religious motivations. When used as criticism of ID arguments, this is an obvious ad hominem. Nonetheless, philosophers and scientists alike continue to wield such arguments for their rhetorical value. Second, in his expert testimony in the Dover trial, philosopher Robert Pennock used repudiated claims in order to brand ID as a kind of pseudoscience. His arguments (...)
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  • Whose Purposes? Biological Teleology and Intentionality.Javier González de Prado Salas - 2018 - Synthese 195 (10):4507-4524.
    Teleosemantic theories aspire to develop a naturalistic account of intentional agency and thought by appeal to biological teleology. In particular, most versions of teleosemantics study the emergence of intentionality in terms of biological purposes introduced by Darwinian evolution. The aim of this paper is to argue that the sorts of biological purposes identified by these evolutionary approaches do not allow for a satisfactory account of intentionality. More precisely, I claim that such biological purposes should be attributed to reproductive chains or (...)
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  • Teleology Then and Now: The Question of Kant’s Relevance for Contemporary Controversies Over Function in Biology.John Zammito - 2006 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 37 (4):748-770.
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  • Teleology Then and Now: The Question of Kant's Relevance for Contemporary Controversies Over Function in Biology.John Zammito - 2006 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 37 (4):748-770.
    Kant -- drawing on his eighteenth-century predecessors -- provided a discerning and powerful characterization of what biologists had to explain in organic form. His difference from the rest is that he opined that was impossible to explain it. Its ’inscrutability’ was intrinsic. The third ’Critique’ essentially proposed the reduction of biology to a kind of prescientific descriptivism, doomed never to attain authentic scientificity. By contrast, for Locke, and ’a fortiori’ for Buffon and his followers, ’intrinsic purposiveness’ was a fact of (...)
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  • “What is Living and What is Dead” in Materialism?John H. Zammito - 2018 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 67:89-96.
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  • Chasing Shadows: Natural Selection and Adaptation.D. M. Walsh - 2000 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 31 (1):135-53.
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  • Teleological Theories of Mental Content.Karen Neander - 2004 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
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