What Functions Explain

Author: Peter McLaughlin
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 9781139428538
Format: PDF, Mobi
Download Now
This 2001 book offers an examination of functional explanation as it is used in biology and the social sciences, and focuses on the kinds of philosophical presuppositions that such explanations carry with them. It tackles such questions as: why are some things explained functionally while others are not? What do the functional explanations tell us about how these objects are conceptualized? What do we commit ourselves to when we give and take functional explanations in the life sciences and the social sciences? McLaughlin gives a critical review of the debate on functional explanation in the philosophy of science. He discusses the history of the philosophical question of teleology, and provides a comprehensive review of the post-war literature on functional explanation. What Functions Explain provides a sophisticated and detailed Aristotelian analysis of our concept of natural functions, and offers a positive contribution to the ongoing debate on the topic.

A Companion to the Philosophy of Biology

Author: Sahotra Sarkar
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons
ISBN: 1444337858
Format: PDF, Docs
Download Now
Comprised of essays by top scholars in the field, this volume offers detailed overviews of philosophical issues raised by biology. Brings together a team of eminent scholars to explore the philosophical issues raised by biology Addresses traditional and emerging topics, spanning molecular biology and genetics, evolution, developmental biology, immunology, ecology, mind and behaviour, neuroscience, and experimentation Begins with a thorough introduction to the field Goes beyond previous treatments that focused only on evolution to give equal attention to other areas, such as molecular and developmental biology Represents both an authoritative guide to philosophy of biology, and an accessible reference work for anyone seeking to learn about this rapidly-changing field

A Critical Overview of Biological Functions

Author: Justin Garson
Publisher: Springer
ISBN: 3319320203
Format: PDF, Docs
Download Now
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 its differential persistence or reproduction in a population, and not merely its differential reproduction. Secondly, it advances “within-discipline pluralism” (as opposed to between-discipline pluralism) a new form of function pluralism, which emphasizes the coexistence of function concepts within diverse biological sub-disciplines. Lastly, it provides a critical assessment of recent alternatives to the selected effects theory of function, namely, the weak etiological theory and the systems-theoretic theory. The book argues that, to the extent that functions purport to offer causal explanations for the existence of a trait, there are no viable alternatives to the selected effects view. The debate about biological functions is still as relevant and important to biology and philosophy as it ever was. Recent controversies surrounding the ENCODE Project Consortium in genetics, the nature of psychiatric classification, and the value of ecological restoration, all point to the continuing relevance to biology of philosophical discussion about the nature of functions. In philosophy, ongoing debates about the nature of biological information, intentionality, health and disease, mechanism, and even biological trait classification, are closely related to debates about biological functions.

The Philosophy of Biology

Author: Kostas Kampourakis
Publisher: Springer Science & Business Media
ISBN: 9400765371
Format: PDF, ePub, Docs
Download Now
This book brings together for the first time philosophers of biology to write about some of the most central concepts and issues in their field from the perspective of biology education. The chapters of the book cover a variety of topics ranging from traditional ones, such as biological explanation, biology and religion or biology and ethics, to contemporary ones, such as genomics, systems biology or evolutionary developmental biology. Each of the 30 chapters covers the respective philosophical literature in detail and makes specific suggestions for biology education. The aim of this book is to inform biology educators, undergraduate and graduate students in biology and related fields, students in teacher training programs, and curriculum developers about the current state of discussion on the major topics in the philosophy of biology and its implications for teaching biology. In addition, the book can be valuable to philosophers of biology as an introductory text in undergraduate and graduate courses.