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Broken Mechanisms: Function, Pathology, and Natural Selection

Garson, Justin (2012) Broken Mechanisms: Function, Pathology, and Natural Selection. In: [2012] Philosophy of Science Assoc. 23rd Biennial Mtg (San Diego, CA) > PSA 2012 Contributed Papers.

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    Abstract

    The following describes one distinct sense of ‘mechanism’ which is prevalent in biology and biomedicine and which has important epistemic benefits. According to this sense, mechanisms are defined by the functions they facilitate. This construal has two important implications. Firstly, mechanisms that facilitate functions are capable of breaking. Secondly, on this construal, there are rigid constraints on the sorts of phenomena ‘for which’ there can be a mechanism. In this sense, there are no ‘mechanisms for’ pathology, and natural selection is not a ‘mechanism of’ evolution, because it does not serve a function.


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    Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (UNSPECIFIED)
    Keywords: Mechanism, Function, Pathology, Natural Selection
    Subjects: Specific Sciences > Biology > Evolutionary Theory
    Specific Sciences > Biology > Function/Teleology
    Specific Sciences > Medicine
    Conferences and Volumes: [2012] Philosophy of Science Assoc. 23rd Biennial Mtg (San Diego, CA) > PSA 2012 Contributed Papers
    Depositing User: Dr. Justin Garson
    Date Deposited: 07 Nov 2012 21:04
    Last Modified: 07 Nov 2012 21:04
    Item ID: 9422
    URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/9422

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