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Organisms and Artifacts: Design in Nature and Elsewhere
by Tim Lewens
In Organisms and Artifacts, Tim Lewens investigates the analogical use of the language of design in evolutionary biology. Uniquely among the natural sciences, biology uses descriptive and explanatory terms more suited to artifacts than organisms. When biologists discuss, for example, the purpose of the panda's thumb and look for functional explanations for organic traits, ...more
Paperback, 240 pages
Published August 12th 2005 by Bradford Book
(first published February 20th 2004)
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This book includes a number of interesting comments on naturalized teleology and what it is for a natural or cultural system to be "designed". I was most excited by the parallels the author said he would make between natural selective mechanisms in the biological world and in the world of artifacts. Some have claimed that it is wrong to draw any strong parallel between the function of artifacts which have been designed explicitly to fill those functions, and the apparent design of organisms. The ...more