TY - JOUR

T1 - Functions Must Be Performed at Appropriate Rates in Appropriate Situations

AU - Piccinini, Gualtiero

N1 - We sketch a novel and improved version of Boorse's biostatistical theory of functions.

PY - 2004/1

Y1 - 2004/1

N2 - We sketch a novel and improved version of Boorse’s biostatistical theory of functions. Roughly, our theory maintains that (i) functions are non-negligible contributions to survival or inclusive fitness (when a trait contributes to survival or inclusive fitness); (ii) situations appropriate for the performance of a function are typical situations in which a trait contributes to survival or inclusive fitness; (iii) appropriate rates of functioning are rates that make adequate contributions to survival or inclusive fitness (in situations appropriate for the performance of that function); and (iv) dysfunction is the inability to perform a function at an appropriate rate in appropriate situations. Based on our theory, we sketch solutions to three problems that have afflicted Boorse’s theory of function, namely, Kingma’s ([2010]) problem of the situation-specificity of functions, the problem of multi-functional traits, and the problem of how to distinguish between appropriate and inappropriate rates of functioning.

AB - We sketch a novel and improved version of Boorse’s biostatistical theory of functions. Roughly, our theory maintains that (i) functions are non-negligible contributions to survival or inclusive fitness (when a trait contributes to survival or inclusive fitness); (ii) situations appropriate for the performance of a function are typical situations in which a trait contributes to survival or inclusive fitness; (iii) appropriate rates of functioning are rates that make adequate contributions to survival or inclusive fitness (in situations appropriate for the performance of that function); and (iv) dysfunction is the inability to perform a function at an appropriate rate in appropriate situations. Based on our theory, we sketch solutions to three problems that have afflicted Boorse’s theory of function, namely, Kingma’s ([2010]) problem of the situation-specificity of functions, the problem of multi-functional traits, and the problem of how to distinguish between appropriate and inappropriate rates of functioning.

UR - https://academic.oup.com/bjps/article/65/1/1/1546814/Functions-Must-Be-Performed-at-Appropriate-Rates

U2 - 10.1093/bjps/axs041

DO - 10.1093/bjps/axs041

M3 - Article

VL - 65

JO - The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science

JF - The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science

ER -