"Ontology and Teleofunctions: A Defense and Revision of the Systematic Account of Teleofunctions"
I defend and revise the systematic account of normative functions
(teleofunctions), as recently developed by Gerhard Schlosser and by
W. D. Christensen and M. H. Bickhard. This account proposes that
teleofunctions are had by structures that play certain kinds of roles
in complex systems. This theory is an alternative to the historical
etiological account of teleofunctions, developed by Ruth Millikan and
others. The historical etiological account is susceptible to a
general ontological problem that has been under-appreciated, and that
offers important reasons to adopt the systematic account. However,
the systematic account must be revised to allow for two distinct kinds
of teleofunctions in order to avoid another ontological problem.
Synthese, 150 (3): 509-510.