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Journal Article

Biological Function, Adaptation, and Natural Design

Colin Allen and Marc Bekoff
Philosophy of Science
Vol. 62, No. 4 (Dec., 1995), pp. 609-622
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/188555
Page Count: 14
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Biological Function, Adaptation, and Natural Design
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Abstract

Recently something close to a consensus about the best way to naturalize the notion of biological function appears to be emerging. Nonetheless, teleological notions in biology remain controversial. In this paper we provide a naturalistic analysis for the notion of natural design. Many authors assume that natural design should be assimilated directly to function. Others find the notion problematic because it suggests that evolution is a directed process. We argue that both of these views are mistaken. Our naturalistic account does not simply equate design with function. We argue that the distinction between function and design is important for understanding the evolution of the physical and behavioral traits of organisms.

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