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"Neo-teleology is the two part thesis that, e.g., (i) we have hearts because of what hearts are for: Hearts are for blood circulation, not the production of a pulse, so hearts are there (animals have them) because their function is to circulate the blood, and (ii) that (i) is explained by natural selection: traits spread through populations because of their functions. This paper attacks this popular doctrine. The presence of a biological trait or structure is not explained by appeal to its function. To suppose otherwise is to trivialize natural selection."

See alsoEdit


  • Cummins, R.(in press). Neo-Teleology. In R. Cummins, Ariew and Perlman (eds) Functions and Functional Analysis in The Philosophy of Biology

and Psychology, Oxford University Press. Full text)

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