David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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The received view in philosophy of biology is that biological taxa (species and higher taxa) do not have essences. Recently some philosophers (Boyd, Devitt, Griffiths, LaPorte, Okasha, and Wilson) have suggested new forms of biological essentialism. They argue that according to these new forms of essentialism biological taxa do have essences. This paper critically evaluates the new biological essentialism. The paper’s thesis is that the costs of adopting the new biological essentialism are many, yet the benefits are none. So there is no compelling reason to resurrect essentialism concerning biological taxa.
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