Function, Selection, and Design
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A complete sourcebook for philosophical discussion of the nature of function in biology.
This authoritative book, written by the leading experts in the field of the philosophy of biology, brings together the defining literature in the debate concerning proper analysis of teleological concepts in biology. The introduction provides a clear and coherent overview to the philosophical progress regarding the nature of function in biology, and the book's chronological structure offers historical insight and perspective.
This anthology is well-planned, representative, and current in its orientation. All of the major positions and figures are represented, and the volume is framed by Buller's essays, an organization that serves to consolidate many themes introduced by the diverse slate of authors.
The scientific revolution ushered in a picture of the universe as governed solely by mechanical causation working forward in time, which appeared to leave no room in nature for teleological (or goal-directed) processes. But within the last decade a near-consensus has emerged among philosophers that the theory of evolution by natural selection provides the framework for a wholly naturalist analysis of the concept of function in biology, and thus solves the traditional philosophical problems regarding teleology. Function, Selection, and Design illustrates this growing consensus and the recent debate concerning the details of a fully adequate analysis of the concept of function.
[Contributors include Colin Allen, André Ariew, Marc Bekoff, John Bigelow, David J. Buller, Robert Cummins, Peter Godfrey-Smith, Richard Goode, Paul E. Griffiths, Philip Kitcher, Ruth Garrett Millikan, Karen Neander, Robert Pargetter, Denis Walsh, and Larry Wright. ]
David J. Buller is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Northern Illinois University.
"The debate about functions has become rather complex, and with articles being published hither and yon, it's been very difficult to follow. Buller has selected very readable and important essays, ones that track the course of the debate quite nicely. I was delighted to have them all collected, edited, and organized for me. " —Barbara L. Horan, Georgia Southern University