Access

You are not currently logged in.

Access your personal account or get JSTOR access through your library or other institution:

login

Log in to your personal account or through your institution.

If you need an accessible version of this item please contact JSTOR User Support

Self-Re-Production and Functionality: A Systems-Theoretical Approach to Teleological Explanation

Gerhard Schlosser
Synthese
Vol. 116, No. 3 (1998), pp. 303-354
Published by: Springer
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20118085
Page Count: 52
  • Download ($43.95)
  • Cite this Item
If you need an accessible version of this item please contact JSTOR User Support
Self-Re-Production and Functionality: A Systems-Theoretical Approach to Teleological Explanation
Preview not available

Abstract

Function and teleology can be naturalized either by reference to systems with a particular type of organization (organizational views) or by reference to a particular kind of history (etiological views). As functions are generally ascribed to states or traits according to their current role and regardless of their origin, etiological accounts are inappropriate. Here, I offer a systems-theoretical interpretation as a new version of an organizational account of functionality, which is more comprehensive than traditional cybernetic views and provides explicit criteria for empirically testable function ascriptions. I propose, that functional states, traits or items are those components of a complex system, which are under certain circumstances necessary for their self-re-production. I show, how this notion can be applied in intra- and trans-generational function ascriptions in biology, how it can deal with the problems of multifunctionality and functional equivalents, and how it relates to concepts like fitness and adaptation. Finally, I argue that most intentional explanations can be treated as functional explanations.

Page Thumbnails

  • Thumbnail: Page 
[303]
    [303]
  • Thumbnail: Page 
304
    304
  • Thumbnail: Page 
305
    305
  • Thumbnail: Page 
306
    306
  • Thumbnail: Page 
307
    307
  • Thumbnail: Page 
308
    308
  • Thumbnail: Page 
309
    309
  • Thumbnail: Page 
310
    310
  • Thumbnail: Page 
311
    311
  • Thumbnail: Page 
312
    312
  • Thumbnail: Page 
313
    313
  • Thumbnail: Page 
314
    314
  • Thumbnail: Page 
315
    315
  • Thumbnail: Page 
316
    316
  • Thumbnail: Page 
317
    317
  • Thumbnail: Page 
318
    318
  • Thumbnail: Page 
319
    319
  • Thumbnail: Page 
320
    320
  • Thumbnail: Page 
321
    321
  • Thumbnail: Page 
322
    322
  • Thumbnail: Page 
323
    323
  • Thumbnail: Page 
324
    324
  • Thumbnail: Page 
325
    325
  • Thumbnail: Page 
326
    326
  • Thumbnail: Page 
327
    327
  • Thumbnail: Page 
328
    328
  • Thumbnail: Page 
329
    329
  • Thumbnail: Page 
330
    330
  • Thumbnail: Page 
331
    331
  • Thumbnail: Page 
332
    332
  • Thumbnail: Page 
333
    333
  • Thumbnail: Page 
334
    334
  • Thumbnail: Page 
335
    335
  • Thumbnail: Page 
336
    336
  • Thumbnail: Page 
337
    337
  • Thumbnail: Page 
338
    338
  • Thumbnail: Page 
339
    339
  • Thumbnail: Page 
340
    340
  • Thumbnail: Page 
341
    341
  • Thumbnail: Page 
342
    342
  • Thumbnail: Page 
343
    343
  • Thumbnail: Page 
344
    344
  • Thumbnail: Page 
345
    345
  • Thumbnail: Page 
346
    346
  • Thumbnail: Page 
347
    347
  • Thumbnail: Page 
348
    348
  • Thumbnail: Page 
349
    349
  • Thumbnail: Page 
350
    350
  • Thumbnail: Page 
351
    351
  • Thumbnail: Page 
352
    352
  • Thumbnail: Page 
353
    353
  • Thumbnail: Page 
354
    354