A tricky trait: applying the fruits of the “function debate” in the philosophy of biology to the “venom debate” in the science of toxinology

Jackson, Timothy N. W. J and Fry, Bryan G. (2016) A tricky trait: applying the fruits of the “function debate” in the philosophy of biology to the “venom debate” in the science of toxinology. Toxins, 8 9: . doi:10.3390/toxins8090263


Author Jackson, Timothy N. W. J
Fry, Bryan G.
Title A tricky trait: applying the fruits of the “function debate” in the philosophy of biology to the “venom debate” in the science of toxinology
Journal name Toxins   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 2072-6651
Publication date 2016-09-07
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.3390/toxins8090263
Open Access Status DOI
Volume 8
Issue 9
Total pages 14
Place of publication Basel, Switzerland
Publisher M D P I AG
Language eng
Abstract The “function debate” in the philosophy of biology and the “venom debate” in the science of toxinology are conceptually related. Venom systems are complex multifunctional traits that have evolved independently numerous times throughout the animal kingdom. No single concept of function, amongst those popularly defended, appears adequate to describe these systems in all their evolutionary contexts and extant variations. As such, a pluralistic view of function, previously defended by some philosophers of biology, is most appropriate. Venom systems, like many other functional traits, exist in nature as points on a continuum and the boundaries between “venomous” and “non-venomous” species may not always be clearly defined. This paper includes a brief overview of the concept of function, followed by in-depth discussion of its application to venom systems. A sound understanding of function may aid in moving the venom debate forward. Similarly, consideration of a complex functional trait such as venom may be of interest to philosophers of biology.
Keyword Debate
Evolution
Function
Philosophy
Science
Venom
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: HERDC Pre-Audit
School of Biological Sciences Publications
Institute for Molecular Bioscience - Publications
 
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