PHL323 Philosophy of Biology, current assignments

Current Assignments
May 9
Our exam slot is 10:30 am - 12:30 pm, in our room of Campus Center 210. This is when your final paper will be due. But I'll take them till 2:00. Final papers can be either:
  • A revision of your first paper.
  • A revision of your teleofunctions paper.
  • A defense of, or criticism of, any work in evolutionary psychology. Your defense or criticism should take into account some of the philosophical criticisms of evolutionary psychology.
  • A defense of, or criticism of, meme theory. You should pick a particular example and pressure test it if you want to defend meme theory.
I will look at drafts any time up to and including May 4. Aim for 8-10 pages in a revision, or 6 pages in a new paper. I will be eager to recommend other readings, if you write and tell me your topic. Use the guideline for analytic philosophy paper format.

I was asked for additional resources. Here are some:
  • Teleofunctions: The recent effects version is in Bigelow & Pargetter (1987) "Functions." The Journal of Philosophy, 84: 181-196. For goal theory, sources include Boorse (1976), "Wright on Functions", The Philosophical Review 85: 70-86; and Wimsatt (1972), "Teleology and the Logical Structure of Function Statements", Studies in the History and Philosophy of Science 3: 1-80. You should be able to get any of these via jStor.
  • The short-lived journal of mimetics has stuff on memes. It's at The paper by Rose might be a good one to look at, or the paper by Wilkins (at
  • A good place to start for criticisms or concerns for evolutionary psych is sections 4 and 5 of the Stanford Encyclopedia entry. It cites important papers of interest. That's at: .

Tentative/expected Assignments (subject to revision)