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  1. In Defense of Proper Functions.Ruth Garrett Millikan - 1989 - Philosophy of Science 56 (June):288-302.
    I defend the historical definition of "function" originally given in my Language, Thought and Other Biological Categories (1984a). The definition was not offered in the spirit of conceptual analysis but is more akin to a theoretical definition of "function". A major theme is that nonhistorical analyses of "function" fail to deal adequately with items that are not capable of performing their functions.
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  • An Organizational Account of Biological Functions.Matteo Mossio, Cristian Saborido & Alvaro Moreno - 2009 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 60 (4):813-841.
    In this paper, we develop an organizational account that defines biological functions as causal relations subject to closure in living systems, interpreted as the most typical example of organizationally closed and differentiated self-maintaining systems. We argue that this account adequately grounds the teleological and normative dimensions of functions in the current organization of a system, insofar as it provides an explanation for the existence of the function bearer and, at the same time, identifies in a non-arbitrary way the norms that (...)
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  • Biological Organization and Cross-Generation Functions.C. Saborido, M. Mossio & A. Moreno - 2011 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 62 (3):583-606.
    The organizational account of biological functions interprets functions as contributions of a trait to the maintenance of the organization that, in turn, maintains the trait. As has been recently argued, however, the account seems unable to provide a unified grounding for both intra- and cross-generation functions, since the latter do not contribute to the maintenance of the same organization which produces them. To face this ‘ontological problem’, a splitting account has been proposed, according to which the two kinds of functions (...)
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  • Language, Thought, and Other Biological Categories.Ruth G. Millikan - 1984 - MIT Press.
    Preface by Daniel C. Dennett Beginning with a general theory of function applied to body organs, behaviors, customs, and both inner and outer representations, ...
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  • Language, Thought, and Other Biological Categories.Ruth Garrett Millikan - 1984 - Behaviorism 14 (1):51-56.
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  • Biofunctions: Two Paradigms.Ruth Millikan - 2002 - In Andre Ariew (ed.), Functions. Oxford University Press. pp. 113-143.
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  • Teleological Explanations in Evolutionary Biology.Francisco J. Ayala - 1970 - Philosophy of Science 37 (1):1-15.
    The ultimate source of explanation in biology is the principle of natural selection. Natural selection means differential reproduction of genes and gene combinations. It is a mechanistic process which accounts for the existence in living organisms of end-directed structures and processes. It is argued that teleological explanations in biology are not only acceptable but indeed indispensable. There are at least three categories of biological phenomena where teleological explanations are appropriate.
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  • The Process Dynamics of Normative Function.Wayne David Christensen & Mark H. Bickhard - 2002 - The Monist 85 (1):3-28.
    Outlines the etiological theory of normative functionality. Analysis of the autonomous system; Function of systems-oriented approaches; Specifications of system identity.
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  • Determinate Functions.Carolyn S. Price - 1998 - Noûs 32 (1):54-75.
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  • Functions as Selected Effects: The Conceptual Analyst's Defense.Karen Neander - 1991 - Philosophy of Science 58 (2):168-184.
    In this paper I defend an etiological theory of biological functions (according to which the proper function of a trait is the effect for which it was selected by natural selection) against three objections which have been influential. I argue, contrary to Millikan, that it is wrong to base our defense of the theory on a rejection of conceptual analysis, for conceptual analysis does have an important role in philosophy of science. I also argue that biology requires a normative notion (...)
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  • Functional Analysis.Robert Cummins - 1975 - Journal of Philosophy 72 (November):741-64.
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  • Wright on Functions.Christopher Boorse - 1976 - Philosophical Review 85 (1):70-86.
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  • Functions.John Bigelow & Robert Pargetter - 1987 - Journal of Philosophy 84 (4):181-196.
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  • White Queen Psychology and Other Essays for Alice. [REVIEW]Ralph Wedgwood & Ruth Garrett Millikan - 1995 - Philosophical Review 104 (1):156.
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  • Etiological Theories of Function: A Geographical Survey.David J. Buller - 1998 - Biology and Philosophy 13 (4):505-527.
    Formulations of the essential commitment of the etiological theory of functions have varied significantly, with some individual authors' formulations even varying from one place to another. The logical geography of these various formulations is different from what is standardly assumed; for they are not stylistic variants of the same essential commitment, but stylistic variants of two non-equivalent versions of the etiological theory. I distinguish these “strong” and “weak” versions of the etiological theory (which differ with respect to the role of (...)
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  • Teleological Notions in Biology.Colin Allen - unknown
    Teleological terms such as "function" and "design" appear frequently in the biological sciences. Examples of teleological claims include: A (biological) function of stotting by antelopes is to communicate to predators that they have been detected. Eagles' wings are (naturally) designed for soaring. Teleological notions were commonly associated with the pre-Darwinian view that the biological realm provides evidence of conscious design by a supernatural creator. Even after creationist viewpoints were rejected by most biologists there remained various grounds for concern about the (...)
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  • Re-Organizing Organizational Accounts of Function.Marc Artiga - 2011 - Applied Ontology 6 (2):105-124.
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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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  • A Modern History Theory of Functions.Peter Godfrey-Smith - 1994 - Noûs 28 (3):344-362.
    Biological functions are dispositions or effects a trait has which explain the recent maintenance of the trait under natural selection. This is the "modern history" approach to functions. The approach is historical because to ascribe a function is to make a claim about the past, but the relevant past is the recent past; modern history rather than ancient.
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  • Functions.Larry Wright - 1973 - Philosophical Review 82 (2):139-168.
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  • Norms of Nature. Naturalism and the Nature of Functions.Paul Sheldon Davies - 2002 - Mind 111 (443):657-662.
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