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Author Information: Pablo Schyfter, University of Edinburgh,

Schyfter, Pablo. “Function, Functional Status, and the Primacy of the Collective: A Reply to Garson.” Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective 3, no. 7 (2014): 38-43.

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Justin Garson’s reply to “Function by Agreement” is a clear and compelling analysis of many ideas that form part of my perspective on biological functions. It is also an excellent point of departure for fruitful discussion. In his piece, Garson aims to accomplish three tasks. First, he seeks to clarify the distinction between my perspective and Robert Cummins’ ‘functional analysis’ approach (1973, 1975) ­– a theory with which my own admittedly has many similarities. Second, he asks why any differences benefit the sociology of knowledge, as I claim they do. Last, he offers a spirited defence of the etiological theory, a perspective that undergoes criticism in my original argument. [1]  Continue Reading…