Research Workshop: "Evolution and the Welfare of Non-Human Life"
Sam Zahn (UCSB / Cal Poly)
Friday October 29, 2021 (12:10pm - 2:00pm)
Neo-Aristotelians argue that the good of an organism lies in its exercising its characteristic capacities (e.g. growing tall, for a redwood tree). My primary goal in this paper is to defend the claim that neo-Aristotelian functions in non-human organisms are natural against the neo-Darwinian objection that the only natural functions are evolutionary ones. I will also gesture toward a modified version of this defense that can answer the objection that all natural functions of organisms must be etiologically determined. Both arguments will hinge on the analogy of nature as an imperfect creator, whose “flaws” allow for a gap between etiology and function.