All Shops

Go to British Wildlife

6 issues per year 84 pages per issue Subscription only

British Wildlife is the leading natural history magazine in the UK, providing essential reading for both enthusiast and professional naturalists and wildlife conservationists. Published six times a year, British Wildlife bridges the gap between popular writing and scientific literature through a combination of long-form articles, regular columns and reports, book reviews and letters.

Subscriptions from £25 per year

Conservation Land Management

4 issues per year 44 pages per issue Subscription only

Conservation Land Management (CLM) is a quarterly magazine that is widely regarded as essential reading for all who are involved in land management for nature conservation, across the British Isles. CLM includes long-form articles, events listings, publication reviews, new product information and updates, reports of conferences and letters.

Subscriptions from £18 per year
Academic & Professional Books  Organismal to Molecular Biology  General Biology

Norms of Nature Naturalism and the Nature of Functions

Out of Print
By: PS Davies
Publisher: MIT Press
Norms of Nature
Click to have a closer look
Select version
  • Norms of Nature ISBN: 9780262541442 Paperback Feb 2003 Out of Print #138054
  • Norms of Nature ISBN: 9780262041874 Hardback Apr 2001 Out of Print #119413
About this book Biography Related titles

About this book

The components of living systems strike us as functional - as for the sake of certain ends - and as endowed with specific norms of performance. The mammalian eye, for example, has the function of perceiving and processing light, and possession of this property tempts us to claim that token eyes are supposed to perceive and process light. That is, we tend to evaluate the performance of token eyes against the norm described in the attributed functional property. Hence the norms of nature. What, then, are the norms of nature? Whence do they arise? Out of what natural properties or relations are they constituted? In "Norms of Nature", Paul Sheldon Davies argues against the prevailing view that natural norms are constituted out of some form of historical success - usually success in natural selection. He defends the view that functions are nothing more than effects that contribute to the exercise of some more general systemic capacity. Natural functions exist insofar as the components of natural systems contribute to the exercise of systemic capacities. This is so irrespective of the system's history. Even if the mammalian eye had never been selected for, it would have the function of perceiving and processing light, because those are the effects that contribute to the exercise of the visual system. The systemic approach to conceptualizing natural norms, claims Davies, is superior to the historical approach in several important ways. Especially significant is that it helps us understand how the attribution of functions within the life sciences coheres with the methods and ontology of the natural sciences generally.

Customer Reviews

Biography

Paul Sheldon Davies is Associate Professor of Philosophy at the College of William and Mary.

Out of Print
By: PS Davies
Publisher: MIT Press
Media reviews

Davies does an admirable job of explaining and defending his particular vision of [the systemic capacity] theory and its place in the natural sciences. - R. K. Harris, Choice

Current promotions
Best of Winter 2018Handbook of the Bees of the British Isles (2-Volume Set)Order your free copy of our 2018 equipment catalogueBritish Wildlife