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  1. Explaining Behaviour: Reasons in a World of Causes.Andy Clark - 1988 - Philosophical Quarterly 40 (158):95-102.
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  • Philosophy of Experimental Biology.Jacob Stegenga - 2009 - Erkenntnis 71 (3):431-436.
    Philosophers have committed sins while studying science, it is said – philosophy of science focused on physics to the detriment of biology, reconstructed idealizations of scientific episodes rather than attending to historical details, and focused on theories and concepts to the detriment of experiments. Recent generations of philosophers of science have tried to atone for these sins, and by the 1980s the exculpation was in full swing. Marcel Weber’s Philosophy of Experimental Biology is a zenith mea culpa for philosophy of (...)
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  • Unto Others: The Evolution and Psychology of Unselfish Behavior.Paul E. Griffiths - 2002 - Mind 111 (441):178-182.
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  • What Functions Explain. Functional Explanation and Self-Reproducing Systems.Gerhard Ernst - 2002 - Erkenntnis 57 (1):123-126.
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  • What Functions Explain: Functional Explanation and Self-Reproducing Systems.Beth Preston - 2002 - Mind 111 (444):888-891.
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  • Reality and Representation.Reinaldo Elugardo - 1987 - Noûs 26 (3):379-389.
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  • A Critical Overview of Biological Functions.Justin Garson - 2016 - Dordrecht: Springer.
    This book is a critical survey of and guidebook to the literature on biological functions. It ties in with current debates and developments, and at the same time, it looks back on the state of discourse in naturalized teleology prior to the 1970s. It also presents three significant new proposals. First, it describes the generalized selected effects theory, which is one version of the selected effects theory, maintaining that the function of a trait consists in the activity that led to (...)
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  • The Biological Mind: A Philosophical Introduction.Justin Garson - 2015 - London: Routledge.
    For some, biology explains all there is to know about the mind. Yet many big questions remain: is the mind shaped by genes or the environment? If mental traits are the result of adaptations built up over thousands of years, as evolutionary psychologists claim, how can such claims be tested? If the mind is a machine, as biologists argue, how does it allow for something as complex as human consciousness? The Biological Mind: A Philosophical Introduction explores these questions and more, (...)
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  • Populations as Individuals.Roberta L. Millstein - 2009 - Biological Theory 4 (3):267-273.
    Biologists studying ecology and evolution use the term “population” in many different ways. Yet little philosophical analysis of the concept has been done, either by biologists or philosophers, in contrast to the voluminous literature on the concept of “species.” This is in spite of the fact that “population” is arguably a far more central concept in ecological and evolutionary studies than “species” is. The fact that such a central concept has been employed in so many different ways is potentially problematic (...)
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  • Selected Effects and Causal Role Functions in the Brain: The Case for an Etiological Approach to Neuroscience.Justin Garson - 2011 - Biology and Philosophy 26 (4):547-565.
    Despite the voluminous literature on biological functions produced over the last 40 years, few philosophers have studied the concept of function as it is used in neuroscience. Recently, Craver (forthcoming; also see Craver 2001) defended the causal role theory against the selected effects theory as the most appropriate theory of function for neuroscience. The following argues that though neuroscientists do study causal role functions, the scope of that theory is not as universal as claimed. Despite the strong prima facie superiority (...)
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  • Natural Selection Through Survival Alone, and the Possibility of Gaia.W. Ford Doolittle - 2014 - Biology and Philosophy 29 (3):415-423.
    Here I advance two related evolutionary propositions. (1) Natural selection is most often considered to require competition between reproducing “individuals”, sometimes quite broadly conceived, as in cases of clonal, species or multispecies-community selection. But differential survival of non-competing and non-reproducing individuals will also result in increasing frequencies of survival-promoting “adaptations” among survivors, and thus is also a kind of natural selection. (2) Darwinists have challenged the view that the Earth’s biosphere is an evolved global homeostatic system. Since there is only (...)
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  • Indication and Adaptation.Peter Godfrey-Smith - 1992 - Synthese 92 (2):283-312.
    This paper examines the relationship between a family of concepts involving reliable correlation, and a family of concepts involving adaptation and biological function, as these concepts are used in the naturalistic semantic theory of Dretske's "Explaining Behavior." I argue that Dretske's attempt to marry correlation and function to produce representation fails, though aspects of his failure point the way forward to a better theory.
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  • Learning and Selection.Justine Kingsbury - 2008 - Biology and Philosophy 23 (4):493-507.
    Are learning processes selection processes? This paper takes a slightly modified version of the account of selection presented in Hull et al. (Behav Brain Sci 24:511–527, 2001) and asks whether it applies to learning processes. The answer is that although some learning processes are selectional, many are not. This has consequences for teleological theories of mental content. According to these theories, mental states have content in virtue of having proper functions, and they have proper functions in virtue of being the (...)
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  • Self-Re-Production and Functionality.Gerhard Schlosser - 1998 - Synthese 116 (3):303-354.
    Function and teleology can be naturalized either by reference to systems with a particular type of organization or by reference to a particular kind of history. As functions are generally ascribed to states or traits according to their current role and regardless of their origin, etiological accounts are inappropriate. Here, I offer a systems-theoretical interpretation as a new version of an organizational account of functionality, which is more comprehensive than traditional cybernetic views and provides explicit criteria for empirically testable function (...)
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  • Function, Selection, and Construction in the Brain.Justin Garson - 2012 - Synthese 189 (3):451-481.
    A common misunderstanding of the selected effects theory of function is that natural selection operating over an evolutionary time scale is the only functionbestowing process in the natural world. This construal of the selected effects theory conflicts with the existence and ubiquity of neurobiological functions that are evolutionary novel, such as structures underlying reading ability. This conflict has suggested to some that, while the selected effects theory may be relevant to some areas of evolutionary biology, its relevance to neuroscience is (...)
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  • Functions.Larry Wright - 1973 - Philosophical Review 82 (2):139-168.
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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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  • 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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  • Functions: Consensus Without Unity.Peter Godfrey-Smith - 1993 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 74 (3):196-208.
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  • A General Account of Selection: Biology, Immunology, and Behavior.David L. Hull, Rodney E. Langman & Sigrid S. Glenn - 2001 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 24 (3):511-528.
    Authors frequently refer to gene-based selection in biological evolution, the reaction of the immune system to antigens, and operant learning as exemplifying selection processes in the same sense of this term. However, as obvious as this claim may seem on the surface, setting out an account of “selection” that is general enough to incorporate all three of these processes without becoming so general as to be vacuous is far from easy. In this target article, we set out such a general (...)
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  • Replication in Selective Systems: Multiplicity of Carriers, Variation of Information, Iteration of Encounters.George N. Reeke - 2001 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 24 (3):552-553.
    An analysis of biological selection aimed at deriving a mechanism-independent definition removes Hull et al.'s obligatory requirement for replication of the carriers of information, under conditions, such as those obtaining in the nervous system, where the information content of a carrier can be modified without duplication by an amount controlled by the outcome of interactions with the environment.
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  • Function, Homology and Character Individuation.Paul E. Griffiths - 2005 - Philosophy of Science 73 (1):1-25.
    I defend the view that many biological categories are defined by homology against a series of arguments designed to show that all biological categories are defined, at least in part, by selected function. I show that categories of homology are `abnormality inclusive'—something often alleged to be unique to selected function categories. I show that classifications by selected function are logically dependent on classifications by homology, but not vice-versa. Finally, I reject the view that biologists must use considerations of selected function (...)
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  • Teleology and the Logical Structure of Function Statements.William C. Wimsatt - 1972 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 3 (1):1-80.
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  • The Neural Basis of Cognitive Development: A Constructivist Manifesto.Steven R. Quartz & Terrence J. Sejnowski - 1997 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 20 (4):537-556.
    How do minds emerge from developing brains? According to the representational features of cortex are built from the dynamic interaction between neural growth mechanisms and environmentally derived neural activity. Contrary to popular selectionist models that emphasize regressive mechanisms, the neurobiological evidence suggests that this growth is a progressive increase in the representational properties of cortex. The interaction between the environment and neural growth results in a flexible type of learning: minimizes the need for prespecification in accordance with recent neurobiological evidence (...)
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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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  • Functions Must Be Performed at Appropriate Rates in Appropriate Situations.G. Piccinini & Justin Garson - 2014 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 65 (1):1-20.
    We sketch a novel and improved version of Boorse’s biostatistical theory of functions. Roughly, our theory maintains that (i) functions are non-negligible contributions to survival or inclusive fitness (when a trait contributes to survival or inclusive fitness); (ii) situations appropriate for the performance of a function are typical situations in which a trait contributes to survival or inclusive fitness; (iii) appropriate rates of functioning are rates that make adequate contributions to survival or inclusive fitness (in situations appropriate for the performance (...)
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  • Is an Overdose of Paracetamol Bad for One's Health?D. M. Hausman - 2011 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 62 (3):657-668.
    1 Overview of the problem2 Situationally Specific Normal Functioning and Capacities3 Kingma’s Criticism4 How Normal Responses can be Pathological5 Too Many Pathologies?6 Conclusions.
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  • Functional Analysis and Proper Functions.Paul E. Griffiths - 1993 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 44 (3):409-422.
    The etiological approach to ‘proper functions’ in biology can be strengthened by relating it to Robert Cummins' general treatment of function ascription. The proper functions of a biological trait are the functions it is assigned in a Cummins-style functional explanation of the fitness of ancestors. These functions figure in selective explanations of the trait. It is also argued that some recent etiological theories include inaccurate accounts of selective explanation in biology. Finally, a generalization of the notion of selective explanation allows (...)
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  • Language, Thought, and Other Biological Categories.Ruth Garrett Millikan - 1984 - Behaviorism 14 (1):51-56.
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  • Darwinian Populations and Natural Selection.Peter Godfrey-Smith - 2009 - Oxford University Press.
    The book presents a new way of understanding Darwinism and evolution by natural selection, combining work in biology, philosophy, and other fields.
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  • Defining Paradigm Darwinian Populations.John Matthewson - 2015 - Philosophy of Science 82 (2):178-197.
    This paper presents an account of the biological populations that can undergo paradigmatic natural selection. I argue for, and develop Peter Godfrey-Smith’s claim that reproductive competition is a core attribute of such populations. However, as Godfrey-Smith notes, it is not the only important attribute. I suggest what the missing element is, co-opting elements of Alan Templeton’s notion of exchangeability. The final framework is then compared to two recent discussions regarding biological populations proposed by Roberta Millstein and Jacob Stegenga.
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  • Solving the Circularity Problem for Functions: A Response to Nanay.Karen Neander & Alex Rosenberg - 2012 - Journal of Philosophy 109 (10):613-622.
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  • Selection Type Theories.Lindley Darden & Joseph A. Cain - 1989 - Philosophy of Science 56 (1):106-129.
    Selection type theories solve adaptation problems. Natural selection, clonal selection for antibody production, and selective theories of higher brain function are examples. An abstract characterization of typical selection processes is generated by analyzing and extending previous work on the nature of natural selection. Once constructed, this abstraction provides a useful tool for analyzing the nature of other selection theories and may be of use in new instances of theory construction. This suggests the potential fruitfulness of research to find other theory (...)
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  • Representation and Explanation.David Papineau - 1984 - Philosophy of Science 51 (December):550-72.
    Functionalism faces a problem in accounting for the semantic powers of beliefs and other mental states. Simple causal considerations will not solve this problem, nor will any appeal to the social utility of semantic interpretations. The correct analysis of semantic representation is a teleological one, in terms of the biological purposes of mental states: whereas functionalism focuses, so to speak, only on the structure of the cognitive mechanism, the semantic perspective requires in addition that we consider the purposes of the (...)
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  • Can Biological Teleology Be Naturalized?Mark Bedau - 1991 - Journal of Philosophy 88 (11):647-655.
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  • Causal Processes, Fitness, and the Differential Persistence of Lineages.Frédéric Bouchard - 2008 - Philosophy of Science 75 (5):560-570.
    Ecological fitness has been suggested to provide a unifying definition of fitness. However, a metric for this notion of fitness was in most cases unavailable except by proxy with differential reproductive success. In this article, I show how differential persistence of lineages can be used as a way to assess ecological fitness. This view is inspired by a better understanding of the evolution of some clonal plants, colonial organisms, and ecosystems. Differential persistence shows the limitation of an ensemblist noncausal understanding (...)
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  • Conceptual and Empirical Challenges of Ascribing Functions to Transposable Elements.Tyler A. Elliott, Stefan Linquist & T. Ryan Gregory - unknown
    The media attention and subsequent scientific backlash engendered by the claim, announced by spokespeople for the Encyclopedia of DNA Elements project, that 80% of the human genome has a “biochemical function” highlights the need for a clearer understanding of function concepts in biology. This article provides an overview of two major function concepts that have been developed in the philosophy of science – the “causal role” concept and the “selected effects” concept – and their relevance to ENCODE. Unlike some previous (...)
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  • Organisms and Artifacts: Design in Nature and Elsewhere.Tim Lewens - 2006 - Philosophical Quarterly 56 (225):624-625.
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  • The Philosophy of Biology.David L. Hull & Michael Ruse (eds.) - 1973 - London: Oxford University Press.
    Drawing on work of the past decade, this volume brings together articles from the philosophy, history, and sociology of science, and many other branches of the biological sciences. The volume delves into the latest theoretical controversies as well as burning questions of contemporary social importance. The issues considered include the nature of evolutionary theory, biology and ethics, the challenge from religion, and the social implications of biology today (in particular the Human Genome Project).
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  • Discovery and Explanation in Biology and Medicine.Kenneth F. Schaffner - 1995 - Journal of the History of Biology 28 (1):172-174.
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  • Misrepresentation.Fred Dretske - 1986 - In R. Bogdan (ed.), Belief: Form, Content, and Function. Oxford University Press. pp. 17--36.
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  • Fitness and the Fate of Unicorns.Karen Neander - 1999 - In Valerie Gray Hardcastle (ed.), Where Biology Meets Psychology. MIT Press.
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