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[iaoa-general] Applied Ontology Volume 6, Number 2/2011 now online

To: IAOA general <iaoa-general@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: Nicola Guarino <guarino@xxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Thu, 19 May 2011 23:16:17 +0200
Message-id: <E9B576B8-DA2D-461C-994D-3D742D077FB7@xxxxxxxxxx>
We are pleased to announce that Applied Ontology Volume 6, Number 2 / 2011 is 
now online at http://iospress.metapress.com/content/u015875jv78t/    (01)

Applied Ontology is now included in Thomson's ISI Science Citation Index and 
every major citation service.    (02)

Members of IAOA can access the issue by logging in on www.iaoa.org.     (03)


Special issue on The Ontology of Functions
Guest editors: Stefano Borgo, Riichiro Mizoguchi and Barry Smith    (04)

Guest-editorial
On the ontology of functions
Stefano Borgo, Riichiro Mizoguchi and Barry Smith    (05)

Regular articles    (06)

Re-organizing organizational accounts of function 
Marc Artiga
Abstract. In this paper I discuss a recent theory on functions called 
Organizational Account. This theory seeks to provide a new definition of 
function that overcomes the distinction between etiological and dispositional 
accounts and that could be used in biology as well as in technology. I present 
a definition of function that I think captures the intuitions of Organizational 
Accounts and consider several objections.    (07)

Functions and fixed types: Biological and other functions in the 
post-adaptationist era 
Ulrich Krohs
Abstract. Among naturalistic theories of biological functions, only those that 
do not reduce functions to actual causal roles allow for a distinction of 
function and dysfunction. Most prominent among those theories are etiological 
theories of function, which refer to adaptive evolutionary processes as the 
source of normativity. Standard criticism of this approach refers to the 
inadequacy of the result that novel traits could not have any function, and to 
'swampman'-arguments. I criticize etiological theories of biological functions 
for the novel reason that it is inadequate in any other theoretical framework 
than gene deterministic adaptationism, and that present day biology is not 
adequately described as being uniformly adaptationistic. An alternative theory 
of normative functions, which refers to the type˝token relation as the source 
of normativity, grasps more adequately function ascriptions within current 
biological frameworks. The theory naturalizes the type˝token relation in terms 
of type fixation by concrete instances and thus refers only to token˝token 
interactions. I further develop how this approach unifies biological and 
artifactual functions and show how it accounts for function ascriptions in 
cases where ontogenetic processes have an impact on the type of the developing 
biological entity, and where decisions in the construction site and 
modifications rather than construction plans are determining types of artifact 
components.    (08)

If engineering function is a family resemblance concept: Assessing three 
formalization strategies 
Massimiliano Carrara, Pawel Garbacz and Pieter E. Vermaas
Abstract. In this paper we argue that the challenge of the formalization of 
functions not merely consists of analyzing and formalizing yet another concept; 
the challenge may also consist of formalizing a concept that is to be taken as 
a family resemblance concept in the Wittgensteinian sense. We focus on 
engineering for giving this argument and indicate briefly how the argument can 
also be given for biological functions. We demonstrate that in engineering 
there are a number of different meanings attached to the term ýfunctionţ, and 
observe that engineers moreover seem to hold that having all these meanings is 
useful in their field. This observation make plausible that function indeed is 
to be taken as a family resemblance concept. Then we describe three strategies 
for the formalization of functions ˝ the revisionary, the overarching and the 
descriptive strategies ˝ and relate them to a number of the current proposals 
for this formalization. Assessing the strategies with the meta-ontological 
goals for formalizations of adequacy and minimality, we argue that if function 
indeed is to be taken as a family resemblance concept, then the descriptive 
strategy is to be preferred.    (09)


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