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Loyola University Chicago

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Purpose And Design In Organisms And Artifacts: The Search For A Unified Philosophical Theory Of Function, Mark L. Bourgeois Jan 2014

Purpose And Design In Organisms And Artifacts: The Search For A Unified Philosophical Theory Of Function, Mark L. Bourgeois

Dissertations

This work examines the concept of function in both biological organisms and designed artifacts. Function is routinely attributed within both kinds of systems, yet it is unclear whether it can mean the same thing within each, and indeed whether function attribution within natural systems is legitimate at all. Function is typically understood to have teleological content; yet in true teleological causation, the end is somehow the cause of its own means. In artifacts the consciously envisioned design of an artifact is taken to be the cause of its parts and their roles. Yet in naturalistic science there is no prior ...