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Functions in Biological and Artificial WorldsComparative Philosophical Perspectives$
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Ulrich Krohs and Peter Kroes

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780262113212

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: August 2013

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262113212.001.0001

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Changing the Mission of Theories of Teleology: DOs and DON’Ts for Thinking About Function

Changing the Mission of Theories of Teleology: DOs and DON’Ts for Thinking About Function

Chapter:
(p.17) 2 Changing the Mission of Theories of Teleology: DOs and DON’Ts for Thinking About Function
Source:
Functions in Biological and Artificial Worlds
Author(s):

Mark Perlman

Publisher:
The MIT Press
DOI:10.7551/mitpress/9780262113212.003.0002

This chapter addresses some factors to consider in the further development of theories of teleofunctions. It recommends the things that should be avoided in the theories of teleofunctions: don't draw a hard line between natural functions and functions of artifacts, don't let teleofunctional theories neglect contexts, don't make designer's intentions essential to artifact function, and don't let theories of teleology spiral out of control into definitional oblivion. It allows different facets of functionality in both fields, biological and artificial functionality. This chapter suggests that the various notions of “function” has different strengths and weaknesses, and will be appropriate in explaining different things.

Keywords:   teleofunctions, natural functions, artifacts, teleofunctional theories, artifact function, teleology, artificial functionality, biological functionality

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