Why (a Form of) Function Indeterminacy is Still a Problem for Biomedicine, and How Seeing Functional Items as Components of Mechanisms Can Solve it

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Garson, Justin
conference paper description
During the 1990s, many philosophers wrestled with the problem of function indeterminacy. Although interest in the problem has waned, I argue that solving the problem is of value for biomedical research and practice. This is because a solution to the problem is required in order to specify rigorously the conditions under which a given item is “dysfunctional.” In the following I revisit a solution developed originally by Neander (1995), which uses functional analysis to solve the problem. I situate her solution in the framework of mechanistic explanation and suggest two improvements.