Nature's Purposes: Analyses of Function and Design in Biology / Edition 1

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Overview

Within the natural sciences, only biologists take seriously teleological statements about design, purpose, and adaptive function. Some biologists claim that to understand the complex morphological and behavioral traits of organisms we must say what they are for, which is to give a teleological explanation of why organisms have them. Others argue that the theory of natural selection, in providing statistical explanations for the same phenomena, obviates any need for teleological thinking. If teleology cannot be eliminated from biology, it raises fundamental questions about the nature of biological explanation and about the relationship of biology to the rest of science.To account for "Nature's purposes" is arguably the most important basic issue in the philosophy of biology. This volume provides a guide to the discussion among biologists and philosophers about the role of concepts such as function and design in an evolutionary understanding of life. All of the contributors examine biological teleology from a naturalistic perspective. Most of them maintain that teleological claims in biology both describe and explain something—but opinions vary as to exactly what is explained and how.Contributors : Fred Adams, Colin Allen, RonAmundson, Francisco J. Ayala, Mark Bedau, Marc Bekoff, John Bigelow, Walter J. Bock, Robert N.

Brandon, Robert Cummins, Berent Enç, Carl Gans, Peter Godfrey-Smith, Stephen Jay Gould, Paul E.

Griffiths, R. A. Hinde, Philip Kitcher, George V. Lauder, Ruth Garrett Millikan, S. D. Mitchell,Ernest Nagel, Karen Neander, Robert Pargetter, M. J. S. Rudwick, Gerd von Wahlert, Elisabeth S.

Vrba, Larry Wright.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780262510974
  • Publisher: MIT Press
  • Publication date: 4/3/1998
  • Series: Bradford Books Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 603
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 1.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Colin Allen is Professor of Philosophy at Texas A&M University. He is the coauthor ofNature's Purposes (MIT Press, 1998), Species of Mind (MITPress, 1997), and The Cognitive Animal (MIT Press, 2001).

Marc Bekoff is Professor of Environmental, Population, and Organismic Biology at theUniversity of Colorado, Boulder.

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Table of Contents

Introduction 1
I Looking Backwards: Teleology as Etiology 27
1 Teleological Explanations in Evolutionary Biology 29
2 Functions 51
3 Biological Teleology: Questions and Explanations 79
II Don't Look Back: Nonhistorical Approaches to Biological Teleology 99
4 The Inference of Function from Structure in Fossils 101
5 Adaptation and the Form-Function Complex 117
6 Functional Analysis 169
7 Teleology Revisited 197
8 Functions 241
9 Where's the Good in Teleology? 261
III Critical Developments 293
10 In Defense of Proper Functions 295
11 Functions as Selected Effects: The Conceptual Analyst's Defense 313
12 Function without Purpose: The Uses of Causal Role Function in Evolutionary Biology 335
13 Functions and Goal Directedness 371
14 Function, Fitness, and Disposition 395
IV Synthesis or Pluralism? 417
15 The Concept of Function 419
16 Functional Analysis and Proper Functions 435
17 A Modern History Theory of Functions 453
18 Function and Design 479
V Design 505
19 Historical Biology and the Problem of Design 507
20 Exaptation - A Missing Term in the Science of Form 519
21 Adaptation and the Form-Function Relation 541
22 Biological Function, Adaptation, and Natural Design 571
Index 589
Contributors 596
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