From Biological Functions to Natural GoodnessSkip other details (including permanent urls, DOI, citation information)
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. Please contact email@example.com to use this work in a way not covered by the license. :
For more information, read Michigan Publishing's access and usage policy.
Neo-Aristotelian ethical naturalism aims to place moral virtue in the natural world by showing that moral goodness is an instance of natural goodness—a kind of goodness supposedly also found in the biological realm of plants and non-human animals. One of the central issues facing neo-Aristotelian naturalists concerns their commitment to a kind of function ascription based on the concept of the flourishing of an organism that seems to have no place in modern biology. In this paper, I offer a novel defense of this functional commitment by appealing to the organizational account of biological function. I argue that the flourishing-based concept of function that forms the basis of the neo-Aristotelian account of natural goodness is explanatorily indispensable to biology, and therefore essential to the understanding of living things.