David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Biology and Philosophy 25 (4):689-709 (2010)
The Tree of Life has traditionally been understood to represent the history of species lineages. However, recently researchers have suggested that it might be better interpreted as representing the history of cellular lineages, sometimes called the Tree of Cells. This paper examines and evaluates reasons offered against this cellular interpretation of the Tree of Life. It argues that some such reasons are bad reasons, based either on a false attribution of essentialism, on a misunderstanding of the problem of lineage identity, or on a limited view of scientific representation. I suggest that debate about the Tree of Cells and other successors to the traditional Tree of Life should be formulated in terms of the purposes these representations may serve. In pursuing this strategy, we see that the Tree of Cells cannot serve one purpose suggested for it: as an explanation for the hierarchical nature of taxonomy. We then explore whether, instead, the tree may play an important role in the dynamic modeling of evolution. As highly-integrated complex systems, cells may influence which lineage components can successfully transfer into them and how they change once integrated. Only if they do in fact have a substantial role to play in this process might the Tree of Cells have some claim to be the Tree of Life.
|Keywords||Philosophy Evolutionary Biology Philosophy of Biology|
|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
Herbert A. Simon (1969). The Sciences of the Artificial. [Cambridge, M.I.T. Press.
Michael Strevens (2008). Depth: An Account of Scientific Explanation. Harvard University Press.
Robert W. Batterman (2002). The Devil in the Details: Asymptotic Reasoning in Explanation, Reduction, and Emergence. Oxford University Press.
Philip Kitcher (2001). Science, Truth, and Democracy. Oxford University Press.
Citations of this work BETA
Joel D. Velasco (2012). The Future of Systematics: Tree Thinking Without the Tree. Philosophy of Science 79 (5):624-636.
Similar books and articles
Stephan Kepser & Jim Rogers (2011). The Equivalence of Tree Adjoining Grammars and Monadic Linear Context-Free Tree Grammars. Journal of Logic, Language and Information 20 (3):361-384.
Michael Rosenak (2001). Tree of Life, Tree of Knowledge: Conversations with the Torah. Westview Press.
Charles Francis (2010). Doug Elliott: Swarm Tree: Of Honeybees, Honeymoons and the Tree of Life. [REVIEW] Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 23 (5):487-489.
Joshua Knobe (2010). Action Trees and Moral Judgment. Topics in Cognitive Science 2 (3):555-578.
Maureen A. O’Malley (2010). Ernst Mayr, the Tree of Life, and Philosophy of Biology. Biology and Philosophy 25 (4):529-552.
Jeffrey G. Lawrence & Adam C. Retchless (2010). The Myth of Bacterial Species and Speciation. Biology and Philosophy 25 (4):569-588.
Maureen A. O’Malley, William Martin & John Dupré (2010). The Tree of Life: Introduction to an Evolutionary Debate. [REVIEW] Biology and Philosophy 25 (4):441-453.
Joel D. Velasco (2010). Species, Genes, and the Tree of Life. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 61 (3):599-619.
Added to index2010-06-12
Total downloads76 ( #56,225 of 1,906,972 )
Recent downloads (6 months)13 ( #49,379 of 1,906,972 )
How can I increase my downloads?