Recent Sources on Functions and Mechanisms

Next Spring, I’m teaching a course on mechanisms (mechanistic explanation) and functions (functional explanation).  I’m considering some of the following sources:

The Monist, 87.1 (2004).

Studies in History and Philosophy of Science, 37.1 (2006).

Allen, C., M. Bekoff, and G. Lauder, Eds. (1998). Nature’s Purposes: Analysis of Function and Design in Biology. Cambridge, MA, MIT Press.

Ariew, A., R. Cummins, and M. Perlman, Eds. (2002). Functions: New Essays in the Philosophy of Psychology and Biology. Oxford UP.

Craver, C. F. (forthcoming). Explaining the Brain. Oxford UP.

Schouten, M. and H. L. De Joong, Eds. (2007). The Matter of the Mind: Philosophical Essays on Psychology, Neuroscience and Reduction.  Blackwell.  [If I can get a hold of the essays in this one.]


What am I missing?  Does anyone know of other useful collections or recent important papers on mechanisms and/or functions?


  1. Ming Tan

    Hi Gualtiero,

    Buller, D. (ed.) (1999) “Function, Selection, and Design” complements the Allen et al. and Ariew et al. collections very nicely.



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