David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Acta Biotheoretica 57 (1-2):51-75 (2009)
The goal of this paper is to encourage a reconfiguration of the discussion about typology in biology away from the metaphysics of essentialism and toward the epistemology of classifying natural phenomena for the purposes of empirical inquiry. First, I briefly review arguments concerning ‘typological thinking’, essentialism, species, and natural kinds, highlighting their predominantly metaphysical nature. Second, I use a distinction between the aims, strategies, and tactics of science to suggest how a shift from metaphysics to epistemology might be accomplished. Typological thinking can be understood as a scientific tactic that involves representing natural phenomena using idealizations and approximations, which facilitates explanation, investigation, and theorizing via abstraction and generalization. Third, a variety of typologies from different areas of biology are introduced to emphasize the diversity of this representational reasoning. One particular example is used to examine how there can be epistemological conflict between typology and evolutionary analysis. This demonstrates that alternative strategies of typological thinking arise due to the divergent explanatory goals of researchers working in different disciplines with disparate methodologies. I conclude with several research questions that emerge from an epistemological reconfiguration of typology
|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
Richard Boyd (1999). Homeostasis, Species, and Higher Taxa. In R. A. Wilson (ed.), Species: New Interdisciplinary Essays. MIT Press 141-85.
Carl Gillett (2002). The Dimensions of Realization: A Critique of the Standard View. Analysis 62 (4):316-323.
Paul E. Griffiths (1999). Squaring the Circle: Natural Kinds with Historical Essences. In Robert A. Wilson (ed.), Species: New Interdisciplinary Essays. MIT Press 209-228.
Peter Schuster (2005). “Less is More” and the Art of Modeling Complex Phenomena: Simplification May but Need Not Be the Key to Handle Large Networks. Complexity 11 (2):11-13.
Citations of this work BETA
Alan C. Love (2013). Erratum To: Theory is as Theory Does: Scientific Practice and Theory Structure in Biology. [REVIEW] Biological Theory 7 (4):430 - 430.
Rasmus Grønfeldt Winther (2011). Part-Whole Science. Synthese 178 (3):397-427.
Miles MacLeod & Thomas A. C. Reydon (2013). Natural Kinds in Philosophy and in the Life Sciences: Scholastic Twilight or New Dawn? [REVIEW] Biological Theory 7 (2):89-99.
David Ludwig (2015). Indigenous and Scientific Kinds. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science:axv031.
Monika Piotrowska (2013). From Humanized Mice to Human Disease: Guiding Extrapolation From Model to Target. Biology and Philosophy 28 (3):439-455.
Similar books and articles
Michael Devitt (2009). Putting Metaphysics First: Essays on Metaphysics and Epistemology. Oxford University Press.
Ron Amundson (1998). Typology Reconsidered: Two Doctrines on the History of Evolutionary Biology. [REVIEW] Biology and Philosophy 13 (2):153-177.
Nigel Leary (2007). Natural Kinds: (Thick) Essentialism or Promiscuous Realism? Philosophical Writings 34 (1):5 - 13.
Denis M. Walsh (2006). Evolutionary Essentialism. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 57 (2):425-448.
H. Clark Barrett (2001). On the Functional Origins of Essentialism. [Journal (Paginated)] (in Press) 2 (1):1-30.
Mark Donohue & Søren Wichmann (eds.) (2008). The Typology of Semantic Alignment. Oxford University Press.
Carl Chung (2003). On the Origin of the Typological/Population Distinction in Ernst Mayr's Changing Views of Species, 1942-1959. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C 34 (2):277-296.
Stefan Ziemski (1975). The Typology of Scientific Research. Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 6 (2):276-291.
John S. Wilkins (2010). What is a Species? Essences and Generation. Theory in Biosciences 129:141-148.
Tim Lewens (2009). What is Wrong with Typological Thinking? Philosophy of Science 76 (3):355-371.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads52 ( #84,375 of 1,911,677 )
Recent downloads (6 months)5 ( #144,539 of 1,911,677 )
How can I increase my downloads?