Justin Garson​​​
​​Philosopher of Biology and Mind
Associate Professor
Hunter College, CUNY

From the publisher: The biological functions debate is a perennial topic in the philosophy of science. In the first full-length account of the nature and importance of biological functions for many years, Justin Garson presents an innovative new theory, the "generalized selected effects theory of function," which seamlessly integrates evolutionary and developmental perspectives on biological functions. He develops the implications of the theory for contemporary debates in the philosophy of mind, the philosophy of medicine and psychiatry, the philosophy of biology, and biology itself, addressing issues ranging from the nature of mental representation to our understanding of the function of the human genome. Clear, jargon-free, and engagingly written, with accessible examples and explanatory diagrams to illustrate the discussion, his book will be highly valuable for readers across philosophical and scientific disciplines.

Advance praise: 'Biological functions are much discussed but little understood. Justin Garson appeals to the explanatory depth of functional explanations to develop a powerful general theory of functions. This book will serve as a reference point for future debate.' David Papineau, King's College London

Advance praise: 'Garson does a superb job of explaining just how central a philosophical understanding of functions is to a wide array of discussions in philosophy and science. These discussions include how to count junk DNA in the ENCODE project, how to classify traits and individuate mechanisms, how different kinds and levels of biological explanations relate to each other, the nature of health and disease, the nature of mental disorder, and even the fundamental basis of thought itself. In addition to being an excellent introduction to these issues, this book gives us a fresh, lively and comprehensive presentation of Garson's distinctive contributions.' Karen Neander, Duke University, North Carolina
Podcast Interview
I'm delighted to have joined Nick Zautra on his SCI PHI podcast , aired November 17, 2018. Here's the description: "On Episode 50, Nick chats with Justin Garson, Associate Professor of Philosophy at Hunter College-CUNY, about chairing a session with Daniel Dennett on memetics at the 2018 Philosophy of Science Association meeting, his work on biological functions in psychiatry and how symptoms of mental disorders like anxiety and schizophrenia might be useful to us, taking part in a summer meeting that brought six philosophers and six geneticists to work on transposable elements and the human genome, and his new book, “What Biological Functions Are and Why They Matter." A full transcript is available here .
  1. Routledge, 2015
    Routledge, 2015
  2. Springer, 2016
    Springer, 2016
  3. Cambridge, 2019
    Cambridge, 2019
About Me
I'm an associate professor of philosophy at Hunter College-CUNY. My main interest is thinking about how biology can help us make progress on traditional problems of human nature. My most recent book, ​​​​​​​What Biological Functions are and Why They Matter, will be published by Cambridge University Press in early 2019. I also write on the history of science and environmental philosophy. Click here for my full ​​​​​​CV. Contact me  here