Functions: Selection and Mechanisms

2014.08.24 : View this Review Online | View Recent NDPR Reviews Philippe Huneman (ed.), Functions: Selection and Mechanisms, Springer, 2013, 243pp., $129.00 (hbk), ISBN 9789400753037.
Philosophy News image
2014.08.24 : View this Review Online | View Recent NDPR Reviews Philippe Huneman (ed.), Functions: Selection and Mechanisms, Springer, 2013, 243pp., $129.00 (hbk), ISBN 9789400753037. Reviewed by Paul Sheldon Davies, College of William and Mary Philippe Huneman asserts that since the 1970s theories of functions have been framed in terms of two claims: (a)   Functions are generally implemented in mechanisms. (b)  Functional explanations in biology have an essential relation with natural selection. (p. 2; italics added) These claims roughly correspond to the two theories that have dominated the debate ever since: the systemic capacity theory of Robert Cummins and the etiological theory of Larry Wright. Advocates of Cummins' theory have emphasized (a), advocates of Wright's have emphasized (b). Still others, the pluralists, have insisted that both theories are required, since each serves theoretical needs the other cannot serve. So why, some 40 years later, a book-length. . .

Continue reading . . .

News source: Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews // News

blog comments powered by Disqus