David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Biological Theory 4 (3):267-273 (2009)
Biologists studying ecology and evolution use the term “population” in many different ways. Yet little philosophical analysis of the concept has been done, either by biologists or philosophers, in contrast to the voluminous literature on the concept of “species.” This is in spite of the fact that “population” is arguably a far more central concept in ecological and evolutionary studies than “species” is. The fact that such a central concept has been employed in so many different ways is potentially problematic for the reason that inconsistent usages (especially when the usage has not been made explicit) might lead to false controversies in which disputants are simply talking past one another. However, the inconsistent usages are not the only, or even the most important reason to examine the concept. If any set of organisms is legitimately called a “population,” selection and drift processes become purely arbitrary, too. Moreover, key ecological variables, such as abundance and distribution, depend on a nonarbitrary way of identifying populations. I sketch the beginnings of a population concept, drawing inspiration from the Ghiselin-Hull individuality thesis, and show why some alternative approaches are nonstarters.
|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
Roberta L. Millstein (2006). Natural Selection as a Population-Level Causal Process. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 57 (4):627-653.
David L. Hull (1978). A Matter of Individuality. Philosophy of Science 45 (3):335-360.
Denis M. Walsh (2007). The Pomp of Superfluous Causes: The Interpretation of Evolutionary Theory. Philosophy of Science 74 (3):281-303.
Brent D. Mishler & Robert N. Brandon (1987). Individuality, Pluralism, and the Phylogenetic Species Concept. Biology and Philosophy 2 (4):397-414.
Lisa Gannett (2003). Making Populations: Bounding Genes in Space and in Time. Philosophy of Science 70 (5):989-1001.
Citations of this work BETA
Rasmus Grønfeldt Winther, Ryan Giordano, Michael D. Edge & Rasmus Nielsen (2015). The Mind, the Lab, and the Field: Three Kinds of Populations in Scientific Practice. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 52:12-21.
Roberta L. Millstein (2015). Thinking About Populations and Races in Time. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 52:5-11.
Rasmus Grønfeldt Winther, Roberta L. Millstein & Rasmus Nielsen (2015). Introduction: Genomics and Philosophy of Race. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 52:1-4.
Justin Garson (2012). Function, Selection, and Construction in the Brain. Synthese 189 (3):451-481.
Frédéric Bouchard (2014). Ecosystem Evolution is About Variation and Persistence, Not Populations and Reproduction. Biological Theory 9 (4):382-391.
Similar books and articles
Peter Gildenhuys (2009). An Explication of the Causal Dimension of Drift. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 60 (3):521-555.
Mark Ridley (1989). The Cladistic Solution to the Species Problem. Biology and Philosophy 4 (1):1-16.
Roberta L. Millstein & Robert A. Skipper (2007). Population Genetics. In David L. Hull & Michael Ruse (eds.), The Cambridge Companion to the Philosophy of Biology. Cambridge 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.
Hugh Lehman (1967). Are Biological Species Real? Philosophy of Science 34 (2):157-167.
G. H. Walter (2008). Individuals, Populations and the Balance of Nature: The Question of Persistence in Ecology. Biology and Philosophy 23 (3):417-438.
Carl T. Bergstrom & Peter Godfrey-Smith (1998). On the Evolution of Behavioral Complexity in Individuals and Populations. Biology and Philosophy 13 (2):205-31.
Jacob Stegenga (2010). Population is Not a Natural Kind of Kinds. Biological Theory 5 (2):154-160.
Peter Godfrey-Smith (1998). On the Evolution of Behavioral Heterogeneity in Individuals and Populations. Biology and Philosophy 13 (2):205-231.
Added to index2010-03-13
Total downloads38 ( #102,922 of 1,790,186 )
Recent downloads (6 months)8 ( #105,906 of 1,790,186 )
How can I increase my downloads?