Results for 'Teleological Function'

998 found
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  1. Teleological functional explanations: a new naturalist synthesis.Mihnea Capraru - 2024 - Acta Biotheoretica 72 (5):1--22.
    The etiological account of teleological function is beset by several difficulties, which I propose to solve by grafting onto the etiological theory a subordinated goal-contribution clause. This approach enables us to ascribe neither too many teleofunctions nor too few; to give a unitary, one-clause analysis that works just as well for teleological functions derived from Darwinian evolution, as for those derived from human intention; and finally, to save the etiological theory from falsification, by explaining how, in spite (...)
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  2. Mechanistic Explanations and Teleological Functions.Andrew Rubner - forthcoming - The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science.
    This paper defines and defends a notion of teleological function which is fit to figure in explanations concerning how organic systems, and the items which compose them, are able to perform certain activities, such as surviving and reproducing or pumping blood. According to this notion, a teleological function of an item (such as the heart) is a typical way in which items of that type contribute to some containing system's ability to do some activity. An account (...)
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  3. Teleology and function in non-living nature.Gunnar Babcock - 2023 - Synthese 201 (4):1-20.
    There’s a general assumption that teleology and function do not exist in inanimate nature. Throughout biology, it is generally taken as granted that teleology (or teleonomy) and functions are not only unique to life, but perhaps even a defining quality of life. For many, it’s obvious that rocks, water, and the like, are not teleological, nor could they possibly have stand-alone functions. This idea - that teleology and function are unique to life - is the target of (...)
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  4. Function and Teleology.Justin Garson - 2008 - In Sahorta Sarkar & Anya Plutynski (eds.), Companion to the Philosophy of Biology. 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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  5. Nietzsche's Functional Disagreement with Stoicism: Eternal Recurrence, Ethical Naturalism, and Teleology.James Mollison - 2021 - History of Philosophy Quarterly 38 (2):175-195.
    Several scholars align Nietzsche’s philosophy with Stoicism because of their naturalist approaches to ethics and doctrines of eternal re- currence. Yet this alignment is difficult to reconcile with Nietzsche’s criticisms of Stoicism’s ethical ideal of living according to nature by dispassionately accepting fate—so much so that some conclude that Nietzsche’s rebuke of Stoicism undermines his own philosophical project. I argue that affinities between Nietzsche and Stoicism belie deeper disagreement about teleology, which, in turn, yields different understandings of nature and human (...)
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  6. An externalist teleology.Gunnar Babcock & Daniel W. McShea - 2021 - Synthese 199 (3-4):8755-8780.
    Teleology has a complicated history in the biological sciences. Some have argued that Darwin’s theory has allowed biology to purge itself of teleological explanations. Others have been content to retain teleology and to treat it as metaphorical, or have sought to replace it with less problematic notions like teleonomy. And still others have tried to naturalize it in a way that distances it from the vitalism of the nineteenth century, focusing on the role that function plays in (...) explanation. No consensus has seemed possible in this debate. This paper takes a different approach. It argues that teleology is a perfectly acceptable scientific notion, but that the debate took an unfortunate misstep some 2300 years ago, one that has confused things ever since. The misstep comes in the beginning of Aristotle’s Physics when a distinction is made between two types of teleological explanation. One type pertains to artifacts while the other pertains to entities in nature. For Aristotle, artifacts are guided by something external to themselves, human intentions, while natural entities are guided by an internal nature. We aim to show that there is, in fact, only one type of legitimate teleological explanation, what Aristotle would have considered a variant of an artifact model, where entities are guided by external fields. We begin with an analysis of the differences between the two types of explanation. We then examine some evidence in Aristotle’s biological works suggesting that on account of his natural-artifactual distinction, he encountered difficulties in trying to provide teleological accounts of spontaneous generation. And we show that it is possible to resolve these difficulties with a more robust version of an artifact model of teleology, in other words, with an externalist teleology. This is McShea’s model, in which goal-directed entities are guided by a nested series of upper-level fields. To explain teleological behavior, this account invokes only external physical forces rather than mysterious internal natures. We then consider how field theory differs from other efforts to naturalize teleology in biology. And finally, we show how the account enables us to grapple with certain difficult cases – genes and intentions – where, even in biology today, the temptation to posit internal natures remains strong. (shrink)
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  7. Teleologies and the Methodology of Epistemology.Georgi Gardiner - 2015 - In David K. Henderson & John Greco (eds.), Epistemic Evaluation: Purposeful Epistemology. Oxford: Oxford University Press UK. pp. 31-45.
    The teleological approach to an epistemic concept investigates it by asking questions such as ‘what is the purpose of the concept?’, ‘What role has it played in the past?’, or ‘If we imagine a society without the concept, why would they feel the need to invent it?’ The idea behind the teleological approach is that examining the function of the concept illuminates the contours of the concept itself. This approach is a relatively new development in epistemology, and (...)
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  8. Teleology and Normativity.Matthew Silverstein - 2016 - Oxford Studies in Metaethics 11:214-240.
    Constitutivists seek to locate the metaphysical foundations of ethics in nonnormative facts about what is constitutive of agency. For most constitutivists, this involves grounding authoritative norms in the teleological structure of agency. Despite a recent surge in interest, the philosophical move at the heart of this sort of constitutivism remains underdeveloped. Some constitutivists—Foot, Thomson, and Korsgaard (at least in her recent *Self-Constitution*)—adopt a broadly Aristotelian approach. They claim that the functional nature of agency grounds normative judgments about agents in (...)
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  9. Teleology beyond explanation.Sehrang Joo, Sami R. Yousif & Joshua Knobe - 2021 - Mind and Language 38 (1):20-41.
    People often think of objects teleologically. For instance, we might understand a hammer in terms of its purpose of driving in nails. But how should we understand teleological thinking in the first place? This paper separates mere teleology (simply ascribing a telos) and teleological explanation (thinking something is explained by its telos) by examining cases where an object was designed for one purpose but is now widely used for a different purpose. Across four experiments, we show that teleology (...)
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  10. Functions and mental representation: the theoretical role of representations and its real nature.Miguel Ángel Sebastián - 2017 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 16 (2):317-336.
    Representations are not only used in our folk-psychological explanations of behaviour, but are also fruitfully postulated, for example, in cognitive science. The mainstream view in cognitive science maintains that our mind is a representational system. This popular view requires an understanding of the nature of the entities they are postulating. Teleosemantic theories face this challenge, unpacking the normativity in the relation of representation by appealing to the teleological function of the representing state. It has been argued that, if (...)
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  11. Darwinian Functional Biology.Ginnobili Santiago - 2022 - Theoria : An International Journal for Theory, History and Fundations of Science 37 (2):233-255.
    Abstract One of the most important things that the Darwinian revolution affected is the previous teleological thinking. In particular, the attribution of functions to various entities of the natural world with explanatory pretensions. In this change, his theory of natural selection played an important role. We all agree on that, but the diversity and heterogeneity of the answers that try to explain what Darwin did exactly with functional biology are overwhelming. In this paper I will try to show how (...)
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  12. On the naturalisation of teleology: self-organisation, autopoiesis and teleodynamics.Miguel Garcia-Valdecasas - 2022 - Adaptive Behavior 30 (2):103-117.
    In recent decades, several theories have claimed to explain the teleological causality of organisms as a function of self-organising and self-producing processes. The most widely cited theories of this sort are variations of autopoiesis, originally introduced by Maturana and Varela. More recent modifications of autopoietic theory have focused on system organisation, closure of constraints and autonomy to account for organism teleology. This article argues that the treatment of teleology in autopoiesis and other organisation theories is inconclusive for three (...)
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  13. Is intuitive teleological reasoning promiscuous?Johan de Smedt & Helen de Cruz - 2019 - In William Gibson, Dan O'Brien & Marius Turda (eds.), Teleology and Modernity. New York, NY: Routledge. pp. 185-202.
    Humans have a tendency to reason teleologically. This tendency is more pronounced under time pressure, in people with little formal schooling and in patients with Alzheimer’s. This has led some cognitive scientists of religion, notably Kelemen, to call intuitive teleological reasoning promiscuous, by which they mean teleology is applied to domains where it is unwarranted. We examine these claims using Kant’s idea of the transcendental illusion in the first Critique and his views on the regulative function of (...) reasoning in the third Critique. We examine whether a Kantian framework can help resolve the tension between the apparent promiscuity of intuitive teleology and its role in human reasoning about biological organisms and natural kinds. (shrink)
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  14. A Functional Naturalism.Anthony Nguyen - 2021 - Synthese 198 (1):295-313.
    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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  15. Teleology in Aristotle’s Practical Philosophy.Manuel Knoll - 2022 - Aither. Journal for the Study of Greek and Latin Philosophical Traditions (10):4–29.
    This article contributes to the debate on the relation between Aristotle’s practical and theoretical philosophy. It argues that his practical philosophy depends to a considerable extent on his teleological conception of nature. This thesis is primarily directed against scholars who maintain that Aristotle does not derive political and human relations from natural or cosmic conditions. The paper defends David Sedley’s anthropocentric interpretation of Aristotle’s natural teleology and shows how Aristotle applies teleological explanations to power relations among human beings (...)
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  16. Wolff’s Science of Teleology and Kant’s Critique.Nabeel Hamid - 2019 - Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy 6.
    This essay examines Wolff’s science of teleology, which has historically been dismissed as a crude physico-theology resting on a simple confusion between uses and purposes. Focusing especially on his two German volumes (German Teleology, 1723, and German Physiology, 1725), I argue that, first, Wolff never intended teleology to be a self-standing theology; and second, that teleology, as a part of physics, is primarily an applied or practical discipline. In its theological function, teleology presupposes the ontological and cosmological arguments for (...)
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  17. Teleology and the Meaning of Life.Osamu Kiritani - 2012 - Journal of Mind and Behavior 33 (1-2):97-102.
    The “units of selection” debate in philosophy of biology addresses which entity benefits from natural selection. Nanay has tried to explain why we are obsessed with the question about the meaning of life, using the notion of group selection, although he is skeptical about answering the question from a biological point of view. The aim of this paper is to give a biological explanation to the meaning of life. I argue that the meaning of life is survival and reproduction, appealing (...)
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  18. Robust processes and teleological language.Jonathan Birch - 2012 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 2 (3):299-312.
    I consider some hitherto unexplored examples of teleological language in the sciences. In explicating these examples, I aim to show (a) that such language is not the sole preserve of the biological sciences, and (b) that not all such talk is reducible to the ascription of functions. In chemistry and biochemistry, scientists explaining molecular rearrangements and protein folding talk informally of molecules rearranging “in order to” maximize stability. Evolutionary biologists, meanwhile, often speak of traits evolving “in order to” optimize (...)
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  19. How objective are biological functions?Marcel Weber - 2017 - Synthese 194 (12):4741-4755.
    John Searle has argued that functions owe their existence to the value that we put into life and survival. In this paper, I will provide a critique of Searle’s argument concerning the ontology of functions. I rely on a standard analysis of functional predicates as relating not only a biological entity, an activity that constitutes the function of this entity and a type of system but also a goal state. A functional attribution without specification of such a goal state (...)
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  20. Function and Modality.Osamu Kiritani - 2011 - Journal of Mind and Behavior 32 (1):1-4.
    Naturalistic teleological accounts of mental content rely on an etiological theory of function. Nanay has raised a new objection to an etiological theory, and proposed an alternative theory of function that attributes modal force to claims about function. The aim of this paper is both to defend and to cast a new light on an etiological theory of function. I argue against Nanay’s “trait type individuation objection,” suggesting that an etiological theory also attributes modal force (...)
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  21. What’s at stake in the debate over naturalizing teleology? An overlooked metatheoretical debate.Carl Sachs & Auguste Nahas - 2023 - Synthese 201 (4):1-22.
    Recent accounts of teleological naturalism hold that organisms are intrinsically goaldirected entities. We argue that supporters and critics of this view have ignored the ways in which it is used to address quite different problems. One problem is about biology and concerns whether an organism-centered account of teleological ascriptions would improve our descriptions and explanations of biological phenomena. This is different from the philosophical problem of how naturalized teleology would affect our conception of nature, and of ourselves as (...)
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  22. Persistence through function preservation.David Rose - 2015 - Synthese 192 (1):97-146.
    When do the folk think that material objects persist? Many metaphysicians have wanted a view which fits with folk intuitions, yet there is little agreement about what the folk intuit. I provide a range of empirical evidence which suggests that the folk operate with a teleological view of persistence: the folk tend to intuit that a material object survives alterations when its function is preserved. Given that the folk operate with a teleological view of persistence, I argue (...)
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  23. Enactivism and the New Teleology: Reconciling the Warring Camps.Ralph D. Ellis - 2014 - Avant: Trends in Interdisciplinary Studies (2):173-198.
    Enactivism has the potential to provide a sense of teleology in purpose-directed action, but without violating the principles of efficient causation. Action can be distinguished from mere reaction by virtue of the fact that some systems are self-organizing. Self-organization in the brain is reflected in neural plasticity, and also in the primacy of motivational processes that initiate the release of neurotransmitters necessary for mental and conscious functions, and which guide selective attention processes. But in order to flesh out the enactivist (...)
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  24. Kant on the Peculiarity of the Human Understanding and the Antinomy of the Teleological Power of Judgment.Idan Shimony - 2018 - In Violetta L. Waibel, Margit Ruffing & David Wagner (eds.), Natur und Freiheit. Akten des XII. Internationalen Kant-Kongresses. De Gruyter. pp. 1677–1684.
    Kant argues in the Critique of the Teleological Power of Judgment that the first stage in resolving the problem of teleology is conceiving it correctly. He explains that the conflict between mechanism and teleology, properly conceived, is an antinomy of the power of judgment in its reflective use regarding regulative maxims, and not an antinomy of the power of judgment in its determining use regarding constitutive principles. The matter in hand does not concern objective propositions regarding the possibility of (...)
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  25. Cause, the Persistence of Teleology, and the Origins of the Philosophy of Social Science.Stephen Turner - 2003 - In Stephen P. Turner and Paul Roth (ed.), Blackwell Guide to the Philosophy of the Social Sciences. pp. 21-42.
    The subject of this chapter is the complex and confusing course of the discussion of cause and teleology before and during the period of Mill and Comte, and its aftermath up to the early years of the twentieth century in the thinking of several of the major founding figures of disciplinary social science. The discussion focused on the problem of the sufficiency of causal explanations, and particularly the question of whether some particular fact could be explained without appeal to purpose. (...)
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  26. Note on the Individuation of Biological Traits.Mihnea D. I. Capraru - 2018 - Journal of Philosophy 115 (4):215-221.
    Bence Nanay has argued that we must abandon the etiological theory of teleological function because this theory explains functions and functional categories in a circular manner. Paul Griffiths argued earlier that we should retain the etiological theory and instead prevent the circularity by making etiologies independent of functional categories. Karen Neander and Alex Rosenberg reply to Nanay similarly, and argue that we should analyze functions in terms of natural selection acting not on functional categories, but merely on lineages. (...)
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  27. Optimality and Teleology in Aristotle's Natural Science.Devin Henry - manuscript
    In this paper I examine the role of optimality reasoning in Aristotle’s natural science. By “optimality reasoning” I mean reasoning that appeals to some conception of “what is best” in order to explain why things are the way they are. We are first introduced to this pattern of reasoning in the famous passage at Phaedo 97b8-98a2, where (Plato’s) Socrates invokes “what is best” as a cause (aitia) of things in nature. This passage can be seen as the intellectual ancestor of (...)
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  28. The Wolffian roots of Kant’s teleology.Hein van den Berg - 2013 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 44 (4):724-734.
    Kant’s teleology as presented in the Critique of Judgment is commonly interpreted in relation to the late eighteenth-century biological research of Johann Friedrich Blumenbach. In the present paper, I show that this interpretative perspective is incomplete. Understanding Kant’s views on teleology and biology requires a consideration of the teleological and biological views of Christian Wolff and his rationalist successors. By reconstructing the Wolffian roots of Kant’s teleology, I identify several little known sources of Kant’s views on biology. I argue (...)
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  29. Are biological traits explained by their 'selected effect' functions?Joshua R. Christie, Carl Brusse, Pierrick Bourrat, Peter Takacs & Paul Edmund Griffiths - forthcoming - Australasian Philosophical Review.
    The selected effects or ‘etiological’ theory of Proper function is a naturalistic and realist account of biological teleology. It is used to analyse normativity in philosophy of language, philosophy of mind, philosophy of medicine and elsewhere. The theory has been developed with a simple and intuitive view of natural selection. Traits are selected because of their positive effects on the fitness of the organisms that have them. These ‘selected effects’ are the Proper functions of the traits. Proponents argue that (...)
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  30. Functions and emergence: when functional properties have something to say.Agustín Vicente - 2011 - Philosophical Studies 152 (2):293-312.
    In a recent paper, Bird (in: Groff (ed.) Revitalizing causality: Realism about causality in philosophy and social science, 2007 ) has argued that some higher-order properties—which he calls “evolved emergent properties”—can be considered causally efficacious in spite of exclusion arguments. I have previously argued in favour of a similar position. The basic argument is that selection processes do not take physical categorical properties into account. Rather, selection mechanisms are only tuned to what such properties can do, i.e., to their causal (...)
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  31. 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 (...)
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  32. On Affect: Function and Phenomenology.Andreas Elpidorou - 2018 - Humana Mente 11 (34):155-184.
    This paper explores the nature of emotions by considering what appear to be two differing, perhaps even conflicting, approaches to affectivity—an evolutionary functional account, on the one hand, and a phenomenological view, on the other. The paper argues for the centrality of the notion of function in both approaches, articulates key differences between them, and attempts to understand how such differences can be overcome.
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  33. Edmond Goblot’s (1858–1935) Selected Effects Theory of Function: A Reappraisal.Justin Garson - 2021 - Philosophy of Science 88 (5):1210-1220.
    At the beginning of the twentieth century, the French philosopher of science Edmond Goblot wrote three prescient papers on function and teleology. He advanced the remarkable thesis that functions are, as a matter of conceptual analysis, selected effects. He also argued that “selection” must be understood broadly to include both evolutionary natural selection and intelligent design. Here, I do three things. First, I give an overview of Goblot’s thought. Second, I identify his core thesis about function. Third, I (...)
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  34. On Belief: Aims, Norms, and Functions.Christopher John Atkinson - 2018 - Dissertation, Lingnan University
    In this dissertation, I explore whether teleological, normative, and functional theories of belief each have the resources to answer three central questions about the nature and normativity of belief. These questions are: (i) what are beliefs, (ii), why do we have them, and (iii) how should we interpret doxastic correctness--the principle that it is correct to believe that p if and only if p? -/- I argue that teleological and normative theories fail to adequately address these questions, and (...)
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  35. On the Use and Abuse of Teleology for Life: Intentionality, Naturalism, and Meaning Rationalism in Husserl and Millikan.Jacob Rump - 2018 - Humana Mente 11 (34).
    Both Millikan’s brand of naturalistic analytic philosophy and Husserlian phenomenology have held on to teleological notions, despite their being out of favor in mainstream Western philosophy for most of the twentieth century. Both traditions have recognized the need for teleology in order to adequately account for intentionality, the need to adequately account for intentionality in order to adequately account for meaning, and the need for an adequate theory of meaning in order to precisely and consistently describe the world and (...)
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  36. Aristotle's Argument for a Human Function.Rachel Barney - 2008 - Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy 34:293-322.
    A generally ignored feature of Aristotle’s famous function argument is its reliance on the claim that practitioners of the crafts (technai) have functions: but this claim does important work. Aristotle is pointing to the fact that we judge everyday rational agency and agents by norms which are independent of their contingent desires: a good doctor is not just one who happens to achieve his personal goals through his work. But, Aristotle argues, such norms can only be binding on individuals (...)
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  37. Primary Substances and Their Homonyms in Aristotle’s Teleology.Mikolaj Domaradzki - 2018 - Diametros (58):2-17.
    The purpose of this article is to reconstruct Aristotle’s distinction between primary substances and their homonyms. It is shown that the Stagirite regards both body parts and artefacts as mere homonyms of primary substances when they are no longer capable of performing their function (ergon) and actualizing their end (telos). In the course of the present discussion, Aristotle’s approach is confronted with his famous doctrine of the four causes, whilst an analysis of the examples given by the Stagirite serves (...)
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  38. Internal Perspectivalism: The Solution to Generality Problems About Proper Function and Natural Norms.Jason Winning - 2020 - Biology and Philosophy 35 (33):1-22.
    In this paper, I argue that what counts as the proper function of a trait is a matter of the de facto perspective that the biological system, itself, possesses on what counts as proper functioning for that trait. Unlike non-perspectival accounts, internal perspectivalism does not succumb to generality problems. But unlike external perspectivalism, internal perspectivalism can provide a fully naturalistic, mind-independent grounding of proper function and natural norms. The attribution of perspectives to biological systems is intended to be (...)
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  39. Four Ways of Going "Right" Functions in Mental Disorder.Anya Plutynski - 2023 - Philosophy, Psychiatry, and Psychology 30 (2):181-191.
    Abstract:In this paper, I distinguish four ways in which aspects or features of mental illness may be said to be functional. I contend that discussion of teleological perspectives on mental illness has unfortunately tended to conflate these senses. The latter two senses have played important practical roles both in predicting and explaining patterns of behavior, cognition, and affective response, atnd relatedly, in developing successful interventions. I further argue that functional talk in this context is neither inconsistent with viewing some (...)
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  40. Nothing Good Will Come from Giving Up on Aetiological Accounts of Teleology.John Basl - 2012 - Philosophy and Technology 25 (4):543-546.
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  41. Kolors Without Colors, Representation Without Intentionality.Angela Mendelovici & David Bourget - 2022 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 105 (2):476-483.
    Over the past few decades, the dominant approach to explaining intentionality has been a naturalistic approach, one appealing only to non-mental ingredients condoned by the natural sciences. Karen Neander’s A Mark of the Mental (2017) is the latest installment in the naturalist project, proposing a detailed and systematic theory of intentionality that combines aspects of several naturalistic approaches, invoking causal relations, teleological functions, and relations of second-order similarity. In this paper, we consider the case of perceptual representations of colors, (...)
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  42. What is the function of morality?Mark Cain - 2019 - In William Gibson, Dan O'Brien & Marius Turda (eds.), Teleology and Modernity. New York, NY: Routledge.
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  43. Téléologie et fonctions en biologie. Une approche non causale des explications téléofonctionnelles.Alberto Molina Pérez - 2017 - Dissertation, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid
    This dissertation focuses 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 approach (...)
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  44. Autonomous Systems and the Place of Biology Among Sciences. Perspectives for an Epistemology of Complex Systems.Leonardo Bich - 2021 - In Gianfranco Minati (ed.), Multiplicity and Interdisciplinarity. Essays in Honor of Eliano Pessa. Springer. pp. 41-57.
    This paper discusses the epistemic status of biology from the standpoint of the systemic approach to living systems based on the notion of biological autonomy. This approach aims to provide an understanding of the distinctive character of biological systems and this paper analyses its theoretical and epistemological dimensions. The paper argues that, considered from this perspective, biological systems are examples of emergent phenomena, that the biological domain exhibits special features with respect to other domains, and that biology as a discipline (...)
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  45. Sensory malfunctions, limitations, and trade-offs.Todd Ganson - 2018 - Synthese 195 (4):1705-1713.
    Teleological accounts of sensory normativity treat normal functioning for a species as a standard: sensory error involves departure from normal functioning for the species, i.e. sensory malfunction. Straightforward reflection on sensory trade-offs reveals that normal functioning for a species can exhibit failures of accuracy. Acknowledging these failures of accuracy is central to understanding the adaptations of a species. To make room for these errors we have to go beyond the teleological framework and invoke the notion of an ideal (...)
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  46. Biologie zbavená břemene teleologie.Filip Tvrdý - 2021 - Aithér 13 (1):50-68.
    The use of teleological language in biology is burdened with many difficulties. Speakers in everyday and scientific discourse confuse functions with purposes and misunderstand functionality, finality, and intentionality. The paper is structured into three sections. In the first part the difference between Platonic supranatural and Aristotelian quasi-natural account of teleology will be explained, with examples from the history of philosophy of biology. The second part will present the Darwinian approach to etiology that constitutes a more sound alternative to the (...)
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  47. Gender Is a Natural Kind with a Historical Essence.Theodore Bach - 2012 - Ethics 122 (2):231-272.
    Traditional debate on the metaphysics of gender has been a contrast of essentialist and social-constructionist positions. The standard reaction to this opposition is that neither position alone has the theoretical resources required to satisfy an equitable politics. This has caused a number of theorists to suggest ways in which gender is unified on the basis of social rather than biological characteristics but is “real” or “objective” nonetheless – a position I term social objectivism. This essay begins by making explicit the (...)
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  48. The natural behavior debate: Two conceptions of animal welfare.Heather Browning - 2020 - Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science 23 (3):325-337.
    The performance of natural behavior is commonly used as a criterion in the determination of animal welfare. This is still true, despite many authors having demonstrated that it is not a necessary component of welfare – some natural behaviors may decrease welfare, while some unnatural behaviors increase it. Here I analyze why this idea persists, and what effects it may have. I argue that the disagreement underlying this debate on natural behavior is not one about which conditions affect welfare, but (...)
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  49. Objetividad versus inteligibilidad de las funciones biológicas: La paradoja normativa y el autismo epistemológico de las ciencias modernas.Alberto Molina Pérez - 2006 - Ludus Vitalis 14 (26):39-67.
    Finality, design and purpose have started to be excluded from the language of the natural sciences since the XVIIth century. Darwin succeeded in excluding them from his theory of evolution appealing to a blind and mechanical natural selection. Today, the most usual definitions for the concept of biological function take for granted that functions: 1) are not dependent on a goal; 2) are not dependent on observers, but only on nature; 3) are explicable in causal terms, either with reference (...)
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  50. Adaptación y función.Santiago Ginnobili - 2009 - Ludus Vitalis (31):3-24.
    The scientific revolution of the XVII siècle is normally described as erasing final causes and the teleology of physics. Nevertheless, the functional language plays a central role in certain areas of biological practice. This is why many philosophers have tried to explicate the concept of function, sometimes to defend the relevance of its use, some other times to show that it is merely a way of speaking that could be easily eliminated without any relevant information loss. The principal purpose (...)
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