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  1. Health and Disease as Practical Concepts: Exploring Function in Context-Specific Definitions.Rik van der Linden & Maartje Schermer - forthcoming - Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy.
    Despite the longstanding debate on definitions of health and disease concepts, and the multitude of accounts that have been developed, no consensus has been reached. This is problematic, as the way we define health and disease has far-reaching practical consequences. In recent contributions it is proposed to view health and disease as practical- and plural concepts. Instead of searching for a general definition, it is proposed to stipulate context-specific definitions. However, it is not clear how this should be realized. In (...)
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  • Biological Normativity: A New Hope for Naturalism?Walter Veit - 2021 - Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 24 (2):291-301.
    Since Boorse [Philos Sci 44:542–573, 1977] published his paper “Health as a theoretical concept” one of the most lively debates within philosophy of medicine has been on the question of whether health and disease are in some sense ‘objective’ and ‘value-free’ or ‘subjective’ and ‘value-laden’. Due to the apparent ‘failure’ of pure naturalist, constructivist, or normativist accounts, much in the recent literature has appealed to more conciliatory approaches or so-called ‘hybrid accounts’ of health and disease. A recent paper by Matthewson (...)
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  • Simulationism and the Function(s) of Episodic Memory.Arieh Schwartz - 2020 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 11 (2):487-505.
    According to simulationism, the function of episodic memory is not to remember the past, but to help construct representations of possible future episodes, by drawing together features from different experiential sources. This article suggests that the relationship between the traditional storehouse view, on which the function of memory is remembering, and the simulationist approach is more complicated than has been typically acknowledged. This is attributed, in part, to incorrect interpretations of what remembering on the storehouse view requires. Further, by appeal (...)
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  • Integrative Pluralism for Biological Function.Beckett Sterner & Samuel Cusimano - 2019 - Biology and Philosophy 34 (6):1-21.
    We introduce a new type of pluralism about biological function that, in contrast to existing, demonstrates a practical integration among the term’s different meanings. In particular, we show how to generalize Sandra Mitchell’s notion of integrative pluralism to circumstances where multiple epistemic tools of the same type are jointly necessary to solve scientific problems. We argue that the multiple definitions of biological function operate jointly in this way based on how biologists explain the evolution of protein function. To clarify how (...)
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  • Invasive species and natural function in ecology.Christopher Hunter Lean - 2021 - Synthese 198 (10):9315-9333.
    If ecological systems are functionally organised, they can possess functions or malfunctions. Natural function would provide justification for conservationists to act for the protection of current ecological arrangements and control the presence of populations that create ecosystem malfunctions. Invasive species are often thought to be malfunctional for ecosystems, so functional arrangement would provide an objective reason for their control. Unfortunately for this prospect, I argue no theory of function, which can support such normative conclusions, can be applied to large scale (...)
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  • Memory as Triage: Facing Up to the Hard Question of Memory.Nikola Andonovski - 2021 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 12 (2):227-256.
    The Hard Question of memory is the following: how are memory representations stored and organized so as to be made available for retrieval in the appropriate circumstances and format? In this essay, I argue that philosophical theories of memory should engage with the Hard Question directly and seriously. I propose that declarative memory is a faculty performing a kind of cognitive triage: management of information for a variety of uses under significant computational constraints. In such triage, memory representations are preferentially (...)
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  • There Are No Ahistorical Theories of Function.Justin Garson - 2019 - Philosophy of Science 86 (5):1146-1156.
    Theories of function are conventionally divided up into historical and ahistorical ones. Proponents of ahistorical theories often cite the ahistoricity of their accounts as a major virtue. Here, I argue that none of the mainstream “ahistorical” accounts are actually ahistorical. All of them embed, implicitly or explicitly, an appeal to history. In Boorse’s goal-contribution account, history is latent in the idea of statistical-typicality. In the propensity theory, history is implicit in the idea of a species’ natural habitat. In the causal (...)
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  • Putting History Back Into Mechanisms.Justin Garson - forthcoming - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science.
    Mechanisms, in the prominent biological sense of the term, are historical entities. That is, whether or not something is a mechanism for something depends on its history. Put differently, while your spontaneously-generated molecule-for-molecule double has a heart, and its heart pumps blood around its body, its heart does not have a mechanism for pumping, since it does not have the right history. My argument for this claim is that mechanisms have proper functions; proper functions are historical entities; so, mechanisms are (...)
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  • Function and Representational Content Through Tinbergen’s Levels of Analysis.James Brooks - 2021 - Biology and Philosophy 36 (2):1-12.
    Teleosemantics attempts to explain the content of mental representations through an appeal to functions, and typically attributes function to selection history. The narrowest cases focus on only evolutionary fitness benefit through natural selection, while broader theories have come to accept multiple levels of selection, including those over the course of a lifetime such as neural selection. The precise way to define function has given rise to many debates over the content of hypothetical mental representations. In this paper, I argue that (...)
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  • Philosophical Analyses of Scientific Concepts: A Critical Appraisal.Daniel Mark Kraemer - 2018 - Philosophy Compass 13 (9):e12513.
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