International Society for History, Philosophy, and Social Studies of Biology

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TUESDAY, JULY 7  /  15:30 - 17:00  /  DS-M540
Organized session / diverse format
Functions, teleology, and normativity at various levels of organization (2)

Antoine C. Dussault (Université de Montréal, Canada); Sophia Rousseau-Mermans (IHPST/ Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne, Université de Montréal, Canada)


Antoine C. Dussault (Université de Montréal, Canada)
Sebastien Dutreuil (IHPST/ Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne, France)
Nei Nunes-Neto (Universidade Federal da Bahia, Brazil)
Alvaro Moreno (University of the Basque Country, Spain)

The notion of function is central to biological theory and has been abundantly discussed in the philosophy of biology (e.g., Huneman 2013, Ariew et al. 2002, Allen et al. 1998). Yet, new directions of investigation have recently emerged in the literature. A first one explores the conceptual link between the normativity and teleology of functional ascriptions and key notions in theoretical biology like those of organization, self-maintenance and natural kinds (e.g., Krohs 2011, Saborido et al. 2011, Mossio et al. 2009). Another one discusses the applicability of functional language to organizational levels above that of organisms (e.g. Nunes-Neto et al. 2014, Bouchard 2013, Odenbaugh 2010). The main aim of these twin sessions is to gather researchers whose work explores those new directions and discuss some of the conceptual issues that they raise. The twin sessions will include discussions of functional language as applied to physiology, ecosystem ecology, earth systems science and theoretical work on social-ecological systems.