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Functions: Selection and Mechanisms

A general case for functional pluralism

Publication ,  Chapter
Brandon, RN
January 1, 2013

Using examples from functional morphology and evolution, Amundson and Lauder (Biol Philos 9: 443-469, 1994) argued for functional pluralism in biology. More specifically, they argued that both causal role (CR) analyses of function and selected effects (SE) analyses played necessary parts in evolutionary biology, broadly construed, and that neither sort of analysis was reducible to the other. Rather than thinking of these two accounts of function as rivals, they argued that they were instead complimentary. Frdaric Bouchard (Chap. 5, this volume) attempts to make that case stronger using an interesting example-the evolution of ecosystems. This case is interesting in that it involves the sudden appearance of things with functions, which also evolve, but which do not, at least initially, have a selected effect etiology. I am in complete agreement with the above-mentioned positions. Here, I take a different tack in arguing for functional pluralism. I abstract away not only from the details of biological practice but even from the details of the CR and SE accounts to argue for a more general pluralism of historical and ahistorical concepts.

Duke Scholars

DOI

ISBN

9789400753037

Publication Date

January 1, 2013

Start / End Page

97 / 104
 

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Brandon, R. N. (2013). A general case for functional pluralism. In Functions: Selection and Mechanisms (pp. 97–104). https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-007-5304-4_6
Brandon, R. N. “A general case for functional pluralism.” In Functions: Selection and Mechanisms, 97–104, 2013. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-007-5304-4_6.
Brandon RN. A general case for functional pluralism. In: Functions: Selection and Mechanisms. 2013. p. 97–104.
Brandon, R. N. “A general case for functional pluralism.” Functions: Selection and Mechanisms, 2013, pp. 97–104. Scopus, doi:10.1007/978-94-007-5304-4_6.
Brandon RN. A general case for functional pluralism. Functions: Selection and Mechanisms. 2013. p. 97–104.
Journal cover image

DOI

ISBN

9789400753037

Publication Date

January 1, 2013

Start / End Page

97 / 104