Skip to main content
×
Home
    • Aa
    • Aa

The proliferation of functions: Multiple systems playing multiple roles in multiple supersystems

  • Nathan Crilly (a1)
Abstract
Abstract

When considering a system that performs a role, it is often stated that performing that role is a function of the system. The general form of such statements is that “the function of S is R,” where S is the functioning system and R is the functional role it plays. However, such statements do not represent how that single function was selected from many possible alternatives. This article renders those alternatives explicit by revealing the other possible function statements that might be made when either S or R is being considered. In particular, two forms of selection are emphasized. First, when we say “the function of S is R,” there are typically many systems other than S that are required to be in operation for that role to be fulfilled. The functioning system, S, does not perform the role, R, all by itself, and those systems that support S in performing that role might also have been considered as functioning. Second, when we say, “the function of S is R,” there are typically many other roles that S plays apart from R, and those other roles might also have been considered functional. When we make function assignments, we select both the functioning system, S, and the functional role, R, from a range of alternatives. To emphasize these alternatives, this article develops a diagrammatic representation of multiple systems playing multiple roles in multiple supersystems.

Copyright
Corresponding author
Reprint requests to: Nathan Crilly, Engineering Design Centre, Department of Engineering, University of Cambridge, Trumpington Street, Cambridge CB2 1PZ, UK. E-mail: nc266@cam.ac.uk
Linked references
Hide All

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

J. Bell , N. Snooke , & C. Price (2007). A language for functional interpretation of model based simulation. Advanced Engineering Informatics 21(4), 398409.

A. Chakrabarti , & T.P. Bligh (2001). A scheme for functional reasoning in conceptual design. Design Studies 22(6), 493517.

A. Chakrabarti , K. Shea , R. Stone , J. Cagan , M. Campbell , N.V. Hernandez , & K.L. Wood (2011). Computer-based design synthesis research: an overview. Journal of Computing and Information Science in Engineering 11(2), 021003-1021003-9.

B. Chandrasekaran , & J.R. Josephson (2000). Function in device representation. Engineering With Computers 16(3/4), 162177.

C.F. Craver (2001). Role functions, mechanisms and hierarchy. Philosophy of Science 68(1), 5374.

N. Crilly (2010). The roles that artefacts play: technical, social and aesthetic functions. Design Studies 31(4), 311344.

N. Crilly (2013). Function propagation through nested systems. Design Studies 34(2), 216242.

R. Cummins (1975). Functional analysis. Journal of Philosophy 72(20), 741765.

Y.-M. Deng (2002). Function and behavior representation in conceptual mechanical design. Artificial Intelligence for Engineering Design, Analysis and Manufacturing 16(5), 343362.

C.L. Dym , & D.C. Brown (2012). Engineering Design: Representation and Reasoning. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

M.S. Erden , H. Komoto , T.J. van Beek , V. D'Amelio , E. Echavarria , & T. Tomiyama (2008). A review of function modeling: approaches and applications. Artificial Intelligence for Engineering Design, Analysis and Manufacturing 22(2), 147169.

R. Frei , & G.D.M. Serugendo (2011 b). Advances in complexity engineering. International Journal of Bio-Inspired Computation 3(4), 199212.

P. Galle (2009). The ontology of Gero's FBS model of designing. Design Studies 30(4), 321339.

J.S. Gero , & U. Kannengiesser (2004). The situated function–behavior–structure framework. Design Studies 25(4), 373391.

L. Gzara , D. Rieu , & M. Tollenaere (2003). Product information systems engineering: an approach for building product models by reuse of patterns. Robotics and Computer-Integrated Manufacturing 19(3), 239261.

S.O. Hansson (2006). Defining technical function. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science 37(1), 1922.

W. Houkes , & P. Vermaas (2004). Actions versus functions: a plea for an alternative metaphysics of artifacts. Monist 87(1), 5271.

W. Houkes , & P.E. Vermaas (2009). Contemporary engineering and the metaphysics of artefacts: beyond the artisan model. Monist 92(3), 403419.

W. Houkes , & P.E. Vermaas (2010). Technical Functions: On the Use and Design of Artefacts. Amsterdam: Springer.

V. Hubka , & W.E. Eder (1982). Principles of Engineering Design. London: Butterworth Scientific.

P. Kitcher (1993). Function and design. Midwest Studies in Philosophy, 18, 379397.

P. Kroes , M. Franssen , I. van de Poel , & M. Ottens (2006). Treating socio-technical systems as engineering systems: some conceptual problems. Systems Research and Behavioral Science 23(6), 803814.

J.R.A. Maier , & G.M. Fadel (2009). Affordance based design: a relational theory for design. Research in Engineering Design 20(1), 1327.

J.R.A. Maier , G.M. Fadel , & D.G. Battisto (2009). An affordance based approach to architectural theory, design, and practice. Design Studies 30(4), 393414.

P. McLaughlin (2001). What Functions Explain: Functional Explanation and Self-Reproducing Systems. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

K. Neander (1991). The teleological notion of “function.” Australasian Journal of Philosophy 69(4), 454468.

K. Neander (1995). Misrepresenting and malfunctioning. Philosophical Studies 79(2), 109141.

B. Preston (1998). Why is a wing like a spoon? A pluralist theory of function. Journal of Philosophy 95(5), 215254.

B. Preston (2009). Philosophical theories of artifact function. In Philosophy of Technology and Engineering Sciences ( A. Meijers , Ed.), pp. 213234. Amsterdam: Elsevier.

M.A. Rosenman , & J.S. Gero (1998). Purpose and function in design: from the socio-cultural to the techno-physical. Design Studies 19(2), 161186.

Y. Umeda , & T. Tomiyama (1997). Functional reasoning in design. IEEE Expert 12(2), 4248.

M. Van Wie , C.R. Bryant , M.R. Bohm , D.A. McAdams , & R.B. Stone (2005). A model of function-based representations. Artificial Intelligence for Engineering Design, Analysis and Manufacturing 19(2), 89111.

P.E. Vermaas , & K. Dorst (2007). On the conceptual framework of John Gero's FBS-model and the prescriptive aims of design methodology. Design Studies 28(2), 133157.

L. Wright (1973). Functions. Philosophical Review 82(2), 139168.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

AI EDAM
  • ISSN: 0890-0604
  • EISSN: 1469-1760
  • URL: /core/journals/ai-edam
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Keywords:

Metrics

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 1
Total number of PDF views: 23 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 250 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 28th June 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.