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Synthese

, Volume 194, Issue 4, pp 1169–1187 | Cite as

Two arguments for the etiological theory over the modal theory of biological function

  • Brian Leahy
  • Maximilian Huber
Article

Abstract

This paper contains a positive development and a negative argument. It develops a theory of function loss and shows how this undermines an objection raised against the etiological theory of function in support of the modal theory of function. Then it raises two internal problems for the modal theory of function.

Keywords

Function Function loss Modal theory Counterfactuals Etiological theory David Lewis Ruth Millikan 

Notes

Acknowledgments

We would like to thank Bence Nanay, John Troyer, members of the Lake Geneva Biological Interest Group, and two anonymous referees for their valuable assistance. B. Leahy was supported by DFG Research Group 1614 “What if: On the meaning, relevance, and epistemology of counterfactual claims and thought experiments”. M. Huber was supported by the Swiss National Science Foundation Grant 140885 “Counterfactual Reasoning in Biology”.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.FB SprachwissenschaftUniversität KonstanzKonstanzGermany
  2. 2.Département de PhilosophieUniversité de GenèveGenève 4Switzerland

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