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Function, Homology, and Character Individuation*

Paul E. Griffiths
Philosophy of Science
Vol. 73, No. 1 (January 2006), pp. 1-25
DOI: 10.1086/510172
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/510172
Page Count: 25
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Function, Homology, and Character Individuation*
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Abstract

I defend the view that many biological categories are defined by homology against a series of arguments designed to show that all biological categories are defined, at least in part, by selected function. I show that categories of homology are ‘abnormality inclusive’—something often alleged to be unique to selected function categories. I show that classifications by selected function are logically dependent on classifications by homology, but not vice‐versa. Finally, I reject the view that biologists must use considerations of selected function to abstract away from variation and pathology to form a canonical description of a class of biological systems.

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