Species in three and four dimensions

Synthese 164 (2):161 - 184 (2008)
There is an interesting parallel between two debates in different domains of contemporary analytic philosophy. One is the endurantism–<span class='Hi'>perdurantism</span>, or three-dimensionalism vs. four-dimensionalism, debate in analytic metaphysics. The other is the debate on the species problem in philosophy of biology. In this paper I attempt to cross-fertilize these debates with the aim of exploiting some of the potential that the two debates have to advance each other. I address two issues. First, I explore what the case of species implies regarding the feasibility of particular positions in the endurantism– <span class='Hi'>perdurantism</span> debate. I argue that the case of species casts doubt on the recent claim that three-dimensionalism and four-dimensionalism are equivalent descriptions of the same underlying reality. Second, and conversely, I examine whether the metaphysical worry about three-dimensionalism and four-dimensionalism can help us to better understand the nature of biological species. I show that analyzing the thesis that species are individuals against the background of the endurantism–<span class='Hi'>perdurantism</span> debate allows us to explicate two different ways in which this thesis can be interpreted.
Keywords Endurantism  Four-dimensionalism  Perdurantism  Species-are-individuals thesis  Species problem  Three-dimensionalism
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References found in this work BETA
Berit Brogaard (2004). Species as Individuals. Biology and Philosophy 19 (2):223-242.

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Citations of this work BETA
Thomas A. C. Reydon (2009). Gene Names as Proper Names of Individuals: An Assessment. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 60 (2):409-432.
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