Functions and fixed types: Biological and other functions in the post-adaptationist era

Krohs U (2011)
Applied Ontology 6(2): 125-139.

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Abstract
Among naturalistic theories of biological functions, only those that do not reduce functions to actual causal roles allow for a distinction of function and dysfunction. Most prominent among those theories are etiological theories of function, which refer to adaptive evolutionary processes as the source of normativity. Standard criticism of this approach refers to the inadequacy of the result that novel traits could not have any function, and to 'swampman'-arguments. I criticize etiological theories of biological functions for the novel reason that it is inadequate in any other theoretical framework than gene deterministic adaptationism, and that present day biology is not adequately described as being uniformly adaptationistic. An alternative theory of normative functions, which refers to the type-token relation as the source of normativity, grasps more adequately function ascriptions within current biological frameworks. The theory naturalizes the type-token relation in terms of type fixation by concrete instances and thus refers only to token-token interactions. I further develop how this approach unifies biological and artifactual functions and show how it accounts for function ascriptions in cases where ontogenetic processes have an impact on the type of the developing biological entity, and where decisions in the construction site and modifications rather than construction plans are determining types of artifact components.
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Krohs U. Functions and fixed types: Biological and other functions in the post-adaptationist era. Applied Ontology. 2011;6(2):125-139.
Krohs, U. (2011). Functions and fixed types: Biological and other functions in the post-adaptationist era. Applied Ontology, 6(2), 125-139. doi:10.3233/AO-2011-0089
Krohs, U. (2011). Functions and fixed types: Biological and other functions in the post-adaptationist era. Applied Ontology 6, 125-139.
Krohs, U., 2011. Functions and fixed types: Biological and other functions in the post-adaptationist era. Applied Ontology, 6(2), p 125-139.
U. Krohs, “Functions and fixed types: Biological and other functions in the post-adaptationist era”, Applied Ontology, vol. 6, 2011, pp. 125-139.
Krohs, U.: Functions and fixed types: Biological and other functions in the post-adaptationist era. Applied Ontology. 6, 125-139 (2011).
Krohs, Ulrich. “Functions and fixed types: Biological and other functions in the post-adaptationist era”. Applied Ontology 6.2 (2011): 125-139.
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