1. Suppose e causes f. Why is it a mistake to take the form of a functional explanation to be "e occurred because f occurred"? Why is it also a mistake to the take form of a functional explanation to be "e occurred because it caused f"? (485-6)
2. Cohen takes the form of a functional explanation to be "e occurred because it WOULD cause f" or "more properly" "e occurred because the situation was such that an event of type E would cause an event of type F." What does this mean? Suppose one says that giraffes have long necks in order to reach leaves on high branches of acacia trees. Does this purported explanation fit Cohen's form? Give an example of another functional explanation in biology that fits this form. Can you think of an example of a functional explanation that does not comfortably fit this form?
3. Cohen points out on page 486 that what explains the power that an individual capitalist has over what happens in his or her factory (which are facts about the relations of production) are facts about his or her legal rights and the operation of the legal system (which are facts about the superstructure). Why doesn't Cohen take this as refuting Marx's claim that the base (relations of production) determines the superstructure (which includes the law)?
4. (490-1) Elster (against whom Cohen is arguing and whose work we will read next) maintains that the statement, "Giraffes have long necks because long necks enable them to reach leaves on high branches of acacia trees" did not constitute an explanation for why giraffes have long necks before Darwin presented his theory of natural selection. Why? Why does Cohen disagree? Who do you think is right and why?
5. Cohen maintains that claiming "A is functional for B" is weaker than claiming that "B functionally explains A" and that the first claim can be true even if the second is false. Can you give an example in which for some A and B, A is functional for B, but B doesn't functionally explain A? What more does it take for "B functionally explains A" to be true?