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Species

Edited by John Wilkins (University of Sydney, University of Melbourne)
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Summary The metaphysics and epistemology of species is a highly contested area in biology, from well before Darwin. Since the New Synthesis, however, philosophers have engaged in discussions regarding essentialism in biology, the role of cladistics and the Linnaean taxonomic methods, and the ontology of systematics. 
Key works Ereshefsky 2001: The Poverty of the Linnaean Hierarchy Wilkins 2009: Species: A History of the Idea Richards 2010: The Species Problem: A Philosophical Analysis
Introductions Wilkins 2011 Wilkins 2010
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  1. Peter R. Anstey (2011). John Locke and Natural Philosophy. Oxford University Press.
    1. Natural philosophy -- 2. Corpuscular pessimism -- 3. Natural history -- 4. Hypothese and analogy -- 5. Vortices, the deluge, and cohesion -- 6. Mathematics -- 7. Demonstration -- 8. Explanation -- 9. Iatrochemistyr -- 10. Generation -- 11. Species.
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  2. Lynda Birke & Mike Michael (1998). The Heart of the Matter: Animal Bodies, Ethics, and Species Boundaries. Society and Animals 6 (3):245-261.
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  3. Bryson Brown (2004). David N. Stamos, The Species Problem: Biological Species, Ontology, and the Metaphysics of Biology Reviewed By. Philosophy in Review 24 (5):371-374.
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  4. Arthur J. Cain & Michael T. Ghiselin (1994). Animal Species and Their Evolution. History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 16 (2):355.
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  5. J. Baird Callicott & William Grove-Fanning (2009). Should Endangered Species Have Standing? Toward Legal Rights for Listed Species. Social Philosophy and Policy 26 (2):317-352.
    The Endangered Species Act of 1973 (ESA) is America's strongest environmental law. Its citizen-suit provisionany personawards implicit intrinsic value, de facto standing, and operational legal rights (sensu Christopher D. Stone) to listed species. Accordingly, some cases had gone forward in the federal courts in the name of various listed species between 1979 (Palila v. Hawaii Dept. of Land & Natural Resources) and 2004 (Cetacean Community v. Bush), when the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that animals could not sue in (...)
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  6. Arthur C. Caplan (1980). Have Species Become Declasse? Psa 1980:71-82.
    Traditionally, species have been treated as classes or kinds in philosophical discussions of systematics and evolutionary biology. Recently a number of biologists and philosophers have proposed a drastic revision of this traditional ontological categorization. They have argued that species ought be viewed as individuals rather than as classes or natural kinds. In this paper an attempt is made to show that (a) the reasons advanced in support of this new view of species are not persuasive, (b) a reasonable explication can (...)
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  7. Arthur L. Caplan (1981). Back to Class: A Note on the Ontology of Species. Philosophy of Science 48 (1):130-140.
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  8. Arthur L. Caplan (1980). Have Species Become Déclassé? PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1980:71 - 82.
    Traditionally, species have been treated as classes or kinds in philosophical discussions of systematics and evolutionary biology. Recently a number of biologists and philosophers have proposed a drastic revision of this traditional ontological categorization. They have argued that species ought be viewed as individuals rather than as classes or natural kinds. In this paper an attempt is made to show that (a) the reasons advanced in support of this new view of species are not persuasive, (b) a reasonable explication can (...)
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  9. Daniel Carey (2013). Locke's Species: Money and Philosophy in the 1690s. Annals of Science 70 (3):1-24.
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  10. Geoff Chambers (2012). The Species Problem: Seeking New Solutions for Philosophers and Biologists. Biology and Philosophy 27 (5):755-765.
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  11. Michael F. Claridge (2010). Species Are Real Biological Entities. In Francisco José Ayala & Robert Arp (eds.), Contemporary Debates in Philosophy of Biology. Wiley-Blackwell Pub.. 91--109.
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  12. Keith A. Coleman & E. O. Wiley (2001). On Species Individualism: A New Defense of the Species-as-Individuals Hypothesis. Philosophy of Science 68 (4):498-517.
    We attempt to defend the species-as-individuals hypothesis by examining the logical role played by the binomials (e.g., "Homo sapiens," "Pinus ponderosa") in biological discourse about species. Those who contend that the binomials can be properly understood as functioning in biological theory as singular terms opt for an objectual account of species and view species as individuals. Those who contend that the binomials can in principle be eliminated from biological theory in favor of predicate expressions opt for a predicative account of (...)
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  13. Donald H. Colless (2006). Taxa, Individuals, Clusters and a Few Other Things. Biology and Philosophy 21 (3):353-367.
    The recognition of species proceeds by two fairly distinct phases: (1) the sorting of individuals into groups or basic taxa (‘discovery’) (2) the checking of those taxa as candidates for species-hood (‘justification’). The target here is a rational reconstruction of phase 1, beginning with a discussion of key terms. The transmission of ‘meaning’ is regarded as bimodal: definition states the intension of the term, and diagnosis provides a disjunction of criteria for recognition of its extension. The two are connected by (...)
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  14. John Collier, A Unified Approach to Species.
    There are a number of different species concepts currently in use. The variety results from differing desiderata and practices of taxonomists, ecologists and evolutionary theorists. Recently, arguments have been presented for pluralism about species. I believe this is unsatisfactory, however, because of the central role of species in biological theory. Taking the line that species are individuals, I ask what might individuate them. In other work I have argued that dynamical systems are individuated by their cohesion. I present here a (...)
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  15. Paul Copland (2004). On the Origin of Species: A Response to "Crossing Species Boundaries" by Jason Scott Robert and Francoise Baylis. American Journal of Bioethics 4 (1):35-35.
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  16. Edward C. Cox (1995). Recombination, Mutation and the Origin of Species. Bioessays 17 (9):747-749.
  17. Carlos Eduardo de Oliveira (2013). Ideias: formas, rationes e species. A Quaestio de ideis de Tomás de Aquino. Discurso 40 (40):95-122.
    Ideias: formas, rationes e species. A Quaestio de ideis de Tomás de Aquino.
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  18. Ronald de Sousa (1989). Kinds of Kinds: Individuality and Biological Species. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 3 (2):119 – 135.
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  19. Michael Devitt (2010). Species Have (Partly) Intrinsic Essences. Philosophy of Science 77 (5):648-661.
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  20. Christian Diehm (2012). Finding a Niche for Species inNature Ethics. Ethics and the Environment 17 (1):71-86.
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  21. Travis Dumsday (2012). Is There Still Hope for a Scholastic Ontology of Biological Species? The Thomist 76 (3).
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  22. J. Dupre (1996). Promiscuous Realism: Reply to Wilson. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 47 (3):441-444.
    This paper presents a brief response to Robert A. Wilson's critical discussion of Promiscuous Realism [1996]. I argue that although convergence on a unique conception of species cannot be ruled out, the evidence against such an outcome is stronger than Wilson allows. In addition, given the failure of biological science to come up with a unique and privileged set of biological kinds, the relevance of the various overlapping kinds of ordinary language to the metaphysics of biological kinds is greater than (...)
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  23. Nick Dyer-Witheford (2004). Species-Being Resurgent. Constellations 11 (4):476-491.
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  24. Jason T. Eberl (2012). Ontological Kinds Versus Biological Species. American Journal of Bioethics 12 (9):32-34.
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  25. Theodor Eimer (1897). On Species-Formation, or the Segregation of the Chain of Living Organisms Into Species. The Monist 8 (1):97-122.
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  26. Crawford Elder (2007). Realism and the Problem of "Infimae Species". American Philosophical Quarterly 44 (2):111 - 127.
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  27. Crawford L. Elder (2008). Biological Species Are Natural Kinds. Southern Journal of Philosophy 46 (3):339-362.
    This paper argues that typical biological species are natural kinds, on a familiar realist understanding of natural kinds—classes of individuals across which certain properties cluster together, in virtue of the causal workings of the world. But the clustering is far from exceptionless. Virtually no properties, or property-combinations, characterize every last member of a typical species—unless they can also appear outside the species. This motivates some to hold that what ties together the members of a species is the ability to interbreed, (...)
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  28. Niles Eldredge (1984). Large-Scale Biological Entities and the Evolutionary Process. PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1984:551 - 566.
    In the Modern Synthesis, the ontology of species is context-dependent: species are seen as "individuals" at any instant in geological time; through time, species-lineages are class-like entities regularly transforming themselves into other, descendant species. Moreover, at any one instant in time, species are predominantly construed as reproductive communities; through time, they are seen as economic entities, bound together by the joint possession of anatomical similarities among constituent organisms. It is argued that a more complete picture sees species as (...)
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  29. Mark W. Ellis (2011). The Problem with the Species Problem. History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 33 (3).
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  30. Ronald P. Endicott (1993). Species-Specific Properties and More Narrow Reductive Strategies. Erkenntnis 38 (3):303-21.
  31. Marc Ereshefsky, Mystery of Mysteries: Darwin and the Species Problem.
    Darwin offered an intriguing answer to the species problem. He doubted the existence of the species category as a real category in nature, but he did not doubt the existence of those taxa called ‘‘species’’. And despite his scepticism of the species category, Darwin continued using the word ‘‘species’’. Many have said that Darwin did not understand the nature of species. Yet his answer to the species problem is both theoretically sound and practical. On the theoretical side, DarwinÕs answer is (...)
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  32. Marc Ereshefsky (2010). Microbiology and the Species Problem. Biology and Philosophy 25 (4):553-568.
    This paper examines the species problem in microbiology and its implications for the species problem more generally. Given the different meanings of ‘species’ in microbiology, the use of ‘species’ in biology is more multifarious and problematic than commonly recognized. So much so, that recent work in microbial systematics casts doubt on the existence of a prokaryote species category in nature. It also casts doubt on the existence of a general species category for all of life (one that includes both prokaryotes (...)
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  33. Marc Ereshefsky (2007). Species, Taxonomy, and Systematics. In Michael Ruse (ed.), Philosophy of Biology. Prometheus Books. 403--428.
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  34. Marc Ereshefsky (1998). Species Pluralism and Anti-Realism. Philosophy of Science 65 (1):103-120.
    Species pluralism gives us reason to doubt the existence of the species category. The problem is not that species concepts are chosen according to our interests or that pluralism and the desire for hierarchical classifications are incompatible. The problem is that the various taxa we call 'species' lack a common unifying feature.
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  35. Marc Ereshefsky (1994). Pluralism, Normative Naturalism, and Biological Taxonomy. PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1994:382 - 389.
    Several authors have argued for taxonomic pluralism in biology -the position that there is a plurality of equally legitimate classifications of the organic world. Others have objected that such pluralism boils down to a position of anything goes. This paper offers a response to the anything goes objection by showing how one can be a discerning pluralist. In particular, methodological standards for choosing taxonomic projects are derived using Laudan's normative naturalism. This paper also sheds light on why taxonomic pluralism (...)
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  36. Marc Ereshefsky (1992). Eliminative Pluralism. Philosophy of Science 59 (4):671-690.
    This paper takes up the cause of species pluralism. An argument for species pluralism is provided and standard monist objections to pluralism are answered. A new form of species pluralism is developed and shown to be an improvement over previous forms. This paper also offers a general foundation on which to base a pluralistic approach to biological classification.
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  37. Marc Ereshefsky (1988). Axiomatics and Individuality: A Reply to Williams' "Species Are Individuals". Philosophy of Science 55 (3):427-434.
    In her "Species Are Individuals" (1985), Mary Williams offers informal arguments and a sketched proof which allegedly show that species are individuals with respect to evolutionary theory. In this paper, I suggest that her informal arguments are insufficient for showing that clans are not sets and that species are individuals. I also argue that her sketched proof depends on three questionable assumptions.
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  38. Marc Ereshefsky (1988). Individuality and Macroevolutionary Theory. PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1988:216 - 222.
    A number of authors have argued that the thesis that species are individuals has important implications for macroevolutionary theory. More specifically, some authors claim that the thesis lends support to the Theory of Punctuated Equilibrium and indicates the existence of species selection. In this paper, I argue that the alleged individuality of species is neither necessary nor sufficient for the truth of that theory or for the existence of species selection. I also argue, contrary to the claims of some, that (...)
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  39. Raphael Falk (1988). Species as Individuals. Biology and Philosophy 3 (4):455-462.
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  40. Paul L. Farber (1972). Buffon and the Concept of Species. Journal of the History of Biology 5 (2):259 - 284.
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  41. Kirk Fitzhugh (forthcoming). Species as Explanatory Hypotheses: Refinements and Implications. Acta Biotheoretica.
    The formal definition of species as explanatory hypotheses presented by Fitzhugh (Marine Biol 26:155–165, 2005a , b ) is emended. A species is an explanatory account of the occurrences of the same character(s) among gonochoristic or cross-fertilizing hermaphroditic individuals by way of character origin and subsequent fixation during tokogeny. In addition to species, biological systematics also employs hypotheses that are ontogenetic, tokogenetic, intraspecific, and phylogenetic, each of which provides explanatory hypotheses for distinctly different classes of causal questions. It is suggested (...)
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  42. James Franklin (1989). Species in Aristotle. Philosophy 64 (247):107 - 108.
    Reply to H. Granger, Aristotle and the finitude of natural kinds, Philosophy 62 (1987), 523-26, which discussed J. Franklin, Aristotle on species variation, Philosophy 61 (1986), 245-52.
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  43. Paul A. Fryxell (1962). The “Relict Species” Concept. Acta Biotheoretica 15 (1-3).
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  44. R. G. (1996). Species, Rules and Meaning: The Politics of Language and the Ends of Definitions in 19th Century Natural History. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 27 (4):473-519.
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  45. Jean Gayon (1996). The Individuality of the Species: A Darwinian Theory? — From Buffon to Ghiselin, and Back to Darwin. [REVIEW] Biology and Philosophy 11 (2):215-244.
    Since the 1970s, there has been a tremendous amount of literature on Ghiselin's proposal that species are individuals. After recalling the origins and stakes of this thesis in contemporary evolutionary theory, I show that it can also be found in the writings of the French naturalist Buffon in the 18th Century. Although Buffon did not have the conception that one species could be derived from another, there is an interesting similarity between the modern argument and that of Buffon regarding the (...)
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  46. Michael Ghiselin (1997). Metaphysics and the Origin of Species. Suny Press.
    In explaining his individuality thesis, Michael T. Ghiselin provides extended discussions of such philosophical topics as definition, the reality of various ...
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  47. Michael T. Ghiselin (1989). Sex and the Individuality of Species: A Reply to Mishler and Brandon. [REVIEW] Biology and Philosophy 4 (1):73-76.
  48. Michael T. Ghiselin (1974). A Radical Solution to the Species Problem. Systematic Zoology 23:536-44.
    Traditionally, species (like other taxa) have been treated as classes (universals). In fact they may be considered individuals (particular things). The logical term “individual” has been confused with a biological synonym for “organism.” If species are individuals, then: 1) their names are proper, 2) there cannot be instances of them, 3) they do not have defining properties (intensions), 4) their constituent organisms are parts, not members. “Species" may be defined as the most extensive units in the natural economy such that (...)
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  49. Philip D. Gingerich (1993). The Nature of Species The Units of Evolution: Essays on the Nature of Species Marc Ereshefsky. BioScience 43 (3):179-180.
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  50. Erol F. Giray (1976). An Integrated Biological Approach to the Species Problem. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 27 (4):317-328.
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