Chapter

Proper Function

Michael C. Rea

in World Without Design

Published in print August 2002 | ISBN: 9780199247608
Published online January 2005 | e-ISBN: 9780191601804 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0199247609.003.0005
Proper Function

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In an earlier chapter, the author argues that naturalists can justifiably accept realism about material objects only if the methods of science justify belief in intrinsic modal properties. One suggestion as to how they might do this is as follows: beliefs attributing intrinsic modal properties to material objects are justified because their truth provides a good explanation for the existence of proper functions in nature. This examines this suggestion and argues that, except in the case of objects that are the products of design, proper functions are not empirically detectable.

Keywords: Aristotelian; function; Millikan; proper function; purpose; teleology

Chapter.  8841 words. 

Subjects: Metaphysics

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