Biology and Philosophy

, Volume 10, Issue 4, pp 435–457 | Cite as

Viability explanation

  • Arno Wouters


This article deals with a type of functional explanation, viability explanation, that has been overlooked in recent philosophy of science. Viability explanations relate traits of organisms and their environments in terms of what an individual needs to survive and reproduce. I show that viability explanations are neither causal nor historical and that, therefore, they should be accounted for as a distinct type of explanation.

Key words

Functional explanation morphology ethology evolution 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Arno Wouters
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyUtrecht UniversityUtrechtThe Netherlands

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