David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Biology and Philosophy 25 (4):497-527 (2010)
Historians and philosophers of science agree that Darwin had an understanding of species which led to a workable theory of their origins. To Darwin species did not differ essentially from ‘varieties’ within species, but were distinguishable in that they had developed gaps in formerly continuous morphological variation. Similar ideas can be defended today after updating them with modern population genetics. Why then, in the 1930s and 1940s, did Dobzhansky, Mayr and others argue that Darwin failed to understand species and speciation? Mayr and Dobzhansky argued that reproductively isolated species were more distinct and ‘real’ than Darwin had proposed. Believing species to be inherently cohesive, Mayr inferred that speciation normally required geographic isolation, an argument that he believed, incorrectly, Darwin had failed to appreciate. Also, before the sociobiology revolution of the 1960s and 1970s, biologists often argued that traits beneficial to whole populations would spread. Reproductive isolation was thus seen as an adaptive trait to prevent disintegration of species. Finally, molecular genetic markers did not exist, and so a presumed biological function of species, reproductive isolation, seemed to delimit cryptic species better than character-based criteria like Darwin’s. Today, abundant genetic markers are available and widely used to delimit species, for example using assignment tests: genetics has replaced a Darwinian reliance on morphology for detecting gaps between species. In the 150th anniversary of The Origin of Species , we appear to be returning to more Darwinian views on species, and to a fuller appreciation of what Darwin meant.
|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
Peter J. Bowler (2009). Geographical Distribution in the Origin of Species. In Michael Ruse & Robert J. Richards (eds.), The Cambridge Companion to the "Origin of Species". Cambridge University Press.
Janet Browne (1980). Darwin's Botanical Arithmetic and the "Principle of Divergence," 1854-1858. Journal of the History of Biology 13 (1):53 - 89.
Charles Darwin (2008/2006). On the Origin of Species: By Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life. Sterling Pub..
Th Dobzhansky (1935). A Critique of the Species Concept in Biology. Philosophy of Science 2 (3):344-355.
Citations of this work BETA
Maureen A. O’Malley (2010). Ernst Mayr, the Tree of Life, and Philosophy of Biology. Biology and Philosophy 25 (4):529-552.
Eric Bapteste & Richard M. Burian (2010). On the Need for Integrative Phylogenomics, and Some Steps Toward its Creation. Biology and Philosophy 25 (4):711-736.
W. Ford Doolittle (2013). Microbial Neopleomorphism. Biology and Philosophy 28 (2):351-378.
Similar books and articles
Phillip R. Sloan (2009). Originating Species : Darwin on the Species Problem. In Michael Ruse & Robert J. Richards (eds.), The Cambridge Companion to the "Origin of Species". Cambridge University Press.
Mark Ridley (1989). The Cladistic Solution to the Species Problem. Biology and Philosophy 4 (1):1-16.
Ernst Mayr (1996). What is a Species, and What is Not? Philosophy of Science 63 (2):262-277.
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.
Hugh Lehman (1967). Are Biological Species Real? Philosophy of Science 34 (2):157-167.
Ernst Mayr (1988). The Why and How of Species. Biology and Philosophy 3 (4):431-441.
Marc Ereshefsky (2010). Darwin's Solution to the Species Problem. Synthese 175 (3):405 - 425.
Added to index2010-05-07
Total downloads33 ( #63,310 of 1,692,471 )
Recent downloads (6 months)3 ( #78,120 of 1,692,471 )
How can I increase my downloads?