Discussion Issues on Functional Explanations


First some truisms:

Next some questions:

1.  What is the explanandum of a plausible functional explanation such as (1) or (2)?

2.  What is the structure of a functional explanation?  Must the explanandum be shown  to be necessary for its beneficial consequence?  Would it refute (1) if it were possible for birds to fly with solid bones?

3.  Does an understanding of natural selection undermine functional explanations or does it contribute to them?

4.  To what extent can functional explanations be accomodated within the deductive-nomological model?

5.  Why do we find functional explanations so compelling, when we have such difficulty making their form clear?