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A Relic of Design: Against Proper Functions in Biology

Ratti, Emanuele and Germain, Pierre-Luc (2021) A Relic of Design: Against Proper Functions in Biology. Biology & Philosophy. ISSN 1572-8404

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Abstract

The notion of biological function is fraught with difficulties - intrinsically and irremediably so, we argue. The physiological practice of functional ascription originates from a time when organisms were thought to be designed and remained largely unchanged since. In a secularized worldview, this creates a paradox which
accounts of functions as selected effect attempt to resolve. This attempt, we argue, misses its target in physiology and it brings problems of its own. Instead, we propose that a better solution to the conundrum of biological functions is to abandon the notion altogether, a prospect not only less daunting than it appears, but arguably the natural continuation of the naturalisation of biology.


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Item Type: Published Article or Volume
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Ratti, Emanuelemnl.ratti@gmail.com0000-0003-1409-8240
Germain, Pierre-Luc
Keywords: biological function; selected effect; evolutionary biology; physiology;
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Biology > Evolutionary Theory
Specific Sciences > Biology > Function/Teleology
Specific Sciences > Biology > Molecular Biology/Genetics
Depositing User: Dr Emanuele Ratti
Date Deposited: 27 Jun 2022 18:09
Last Modified: 27 Jun 2022 18:09
Item ID: 20807
Journal or Publication Title: Biology & Philosophy
Publisher: Springer
Official URL: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10539-0...
DOI or Unique Handle: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10539-022-09856-z
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Biology > Evolutionary Theory
Specific Sciences > Biology > Function/Teleology
Specific Sciences > Biology > Molecular Biology/Genetics
Date: 2021
ISSN: 1572-8404
URI: https://philsci-archive-dev.library.pitt.edu/id/eprint/20807

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