Normativity without artifice: a new foundation for teleological realism Public Deposited

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  • March 21, 2019
  • Bauer, Mark
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Philosophy
  • Interest in teleological analysis has risen dramatically over the last several decades: teleo-functional accounts of biological systems, of gross mental state types, and of intentionality have all had their share of adherents. Such analysis has been attractive in part, because characterizing function as some item's job, office, or role allows that it might perform its work more or less well. (For example, in the context of intentionality, the possibility of malfunction is what is thought to secure intentional inexistence, e.g., misperception, false belief, etc.) For the application of teleological analysis to traditional philosophical problems, such as the "mind/body" problem or the problem of "intentional inexistence", to be successful, however, teleo-functional ascriptions to natural or nonartifactual systems must be construed literally. Yet, since a teleologically characterized item or behavior can succeed or fail at its function, teleo-functional ascriptions imply norms or standards of functional performance. A literal construal of nonartifactual teleological ascriptions presupposes, then, that there are literally norms within the natural world, which are independent of intentional and psychological agency. Any realist account of nonartifactual teleology must have at its core a realist account of nonartifactual normativity. In short, I develop just such an account of normativity and one that will serve as the foundation of nonartifactual teleological realism, thereby securing, I believe, a theoretical pillar requisite for naturalizing the mind.
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  • Lycan, William G.
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  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
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