The Ontology of Functional Mechanisms

Corey Maley and I have recently completed paper in which we give a goal-based account of teleological functions. Comments are very welcome.

(The above paper builds on another paper by Justin Garson and me that is forthcoming in BJPS. That paper is available upon request.)


We provide the foundations for an integrated science of cognition and behavior by offering an account of the teleological functions of multi-level functional mechanisms. The account applies to both biological traits and artifacts. Teleological functions are stable causal contributions towards the objective goals of organisms belonging to a biological population. The paradigmatic objective goals of organisms are survival and inclusive fitness, although organisms may have additional goals.

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