A Generalized Selected Effects Theory of Function

Philosophy of Science 84 (3):523-543 (2017)
Download Edit this record How to cite View on PhilPapers
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 and defending it from a recent objection. I also sketch its implications for teleosemantics and philosophy of medicine.
Reprint years
PhilPapers/Archive ID
Revision history
Archival date: 2018-02-02
View upload history
References found in this work BETA
In Defense of Proper Functions.Millikan, Ruth Garrett

View all 42 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA
Teleosemantics, Selection and Novel Contents.Garson, Justin & Papineau, David
The Functions of Imitative Behaviour in Humans.Farmer, Harry; Ciaunica, Anna & Hamilton, Antonia F. De C.

Add more citations

Added to PP index

Total views
185 ( #20,761 of 46,273 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
72 ( #9,971 of 46,273 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads since first upload
This graph includes both downloads from PhilArchive and clicks to external links.