Function, Selection, and Design
David J. Buller
SUNY Press, Jul 1, 1999 - Science - 325 pages
This authoritative book, written by the leading experts in the field of the philosophy of biology, brings together the defining literature in the debate concerning proper analysis of teleological concepts in biology. The introduction provides a clear and coherent overview to the philosophical progress regarding the nature of function in biology, and the book s chronological structure offers historical insight and perspective.
This anthology is well-planned, representative, and current in its orientation. All of the major positions and figures are represented, and the volume is framed by Buller s essays, an organization that serves to consolidate many themes introduced by the diverse slate of authors.
The scientific revolution ushered in a picture of the universe as governed solely by mechanical causation working forward in time, which appeared to leave no room in nature for teleological (or goal-directed) processes. But within the last decade a near-consensus has emerged among philosophers that the theory of evolution by natural selection provides the framework for a wholly naturalist analysis of the concept of function in biology, and thus solves the traditional philosophical problems regarding teleology. Function, Selection, and Design illustrates this growing consensus and the recent debate concerning the details of a fully adequate analysis of the concept of function.
[Contributors include Colin Allen, André Ariew, Marc Bekoff, John Bigelow, David J. Buller, Robert Cummins, Peter Godfrey-Smith, Richard Goode, Paul E. Griffiths, Philip Kitcher, Ruth Garrett Millikan, Karen Neander, Robert Pargetter, Denis Walsh, and Larry Wright.]
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account of functions adaptive analyzed ancestors appeal argue bearers behavior Bigelow and Pargetter biological functions biologists C-function capacity causal contribution causes character claim complex components concept of function context contractile vacuole contribution to fitness Cummins functions disposition distinction E-function effect entity environment etiological theory evolution evolutionary function example explain the presence explanatory role fact func function ascriptions function attributions functional analysis functional explanation functionally characterized gene goal theories Godfrey-Smith heart Hempel intentional junk DNA Kitcher Larry Wright malfunctioning Millikan mutation Nagel natural selection Neander organisms past perform Peter Godfrey-Smith pheromone Philosophy of Science population problem producing propensity theory proper function properties pump blood question replicators reproductively established family Robert Cummins Ruth Millikan segregation distorter selection process sense source of design species strong theory structure survival teleological explanations theory of functions things tion tional trait type units of selection vertebrates weak theory Wright