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Functions in Biological and Artificial Worlds – Comparative Philosophical Perspectives - MIT Press Scholarship Online
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Functions in Biological and Artificial Worlds: Comparative Philosophical Perspectives

Ulrich Krohs and Peter Kroes


The notion of function is an integral part of thinking in both biology and technology; biological organisms and technical artifacts are both ascribed functionality. Yet the concept of function is notoriously obscure (with problematic issues regarding the normative and the descriptive nature of functions, for example) and demands philosophical clarification. So too the relationship between biological organisms and technical artifacts: although entities of one kind are often described in terms of the other—as in the machine analogy for biological organism or the evolutionary account of technolog ... More

Keywords: biological organisms, functionality, technical artifacts, technological development, function ascription, biology, technology, functions, machine analogy, concept of function

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2009 Print ISBN-13: 9780262113212
Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: August 2013 DOI:10.7551/mitpress/9780262113212.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Ulrich Krohs, editor

Peter Kroes, editor

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I Introduction

6 Functions and Norms

Peter McLaughlin

End Matter