David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Philosophy of Science 74 (1):69-95 (2007)
Philosophical discussions of species have focused on multicellular, sexual animals and have often neglected to consider unicellular organisms like bacteria. This article begins to fill this gap by considering what species concepts, if any, apply neatly to the bacterial world. First, I argue that the biological species concept cannot be applied to bacteria because of the variable rates of genetic transfer between populations, depending in part on which gene type is prioritized. Second, I present a critique of phylogenetic bacterial species, arguing that phylogenetic bacterial classification requires a questionable metaphysical commitment to the existence of essential genes. I conclude by considering how microbiologists have dealt with these biological complexities by using more pragmatic and not exclusively evolutionary accounts of species. I argue that this pragmatism is not borne of laziness but rather of the substantial conceptual problems in classifying bacteria based on any evolutionary standard.
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
Marc Ereshefsky (2010). Microbiology and the Species Problem. Biology and Philosophy 25 (4):553-568.
Andrea Borghini (2015). What Is a Recipe? Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 28 (4):719-738.
Marc Ereshefsky (2010). Darwin's Solution to the Species Problem. Synthese 175 (3):405 - 425.
Joel D. Velasco (2010). Species, Genes, and the Tree of Life. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 61 (3):599-619.
Carol E. Cleland (2013). Pluralism or Unity in Biology: Could Microbes Hold the Secret to Life? Biology and Philosophy 28 (2):189-204.
Similar books and articles
Arthur C. Caplan (1980). Have Species Become Declasse? Psa 1980:71-82.
Joel Cracraft (1987). Species Concepts and the Ontology of Evolution. Biology and Philosophy 2 (3):329-346.
Kirk Fitzhugh (2009). Species as Explanatory Hypotheses: Refinements and Implications. Acta Biotheoretica 57 (1-2):201-248.
Joel D. Velasco (2009). When Monophyly is Not Enough: Exclusivity as the Key to Defining a Phylogenetic Species Concept. Biology and Philosophy 24 (4):473-486.
Christopher D. Horvath (1997). Some Questions About Identifying Individuals: Failed Intuitions About Organisms and Species. Philosophy of Science 64 (4):654-668.
Janine F. Guespin-Michel (1997). Evolution of Prokaryotes: A Kuhnian Scientific Revolution. Acta Biotheoretica 45 (3-4):221-226.
Joel D. Velasco (2008). Species Concepts Should Not Conflict with Evolutionary History, but Often Do. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C 39 (4):407-414.
Roberta Bivins (2000). Sex Cells: Gender and the Language of Bacterial Genetics. [REVIEW] Journal of the History of Biology 33 (1):113 - 139.
John S. Wilkins (2007). The Concept and Causes of Microbial Species. Studies in History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 28 (3):389-408.
Jeffrey G. Lawrence & Adam C. Retchless (2010). The Myth of Bacterial Species and Speciation. Biology and Philosophy 25 (4):569-588.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads72 ( #45,100 of 1,725,822 )
Recent downloads (6 months)20 ( #42,222 of 1,725,822 )
How can I increase my downloads?