David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 57 (2):425-448 (2006)
According to Aristotelian essentialism, the nature of an organism is constituted of a particular goal-directed disposition to produce an organism typical of its kind. This paper argues—against the prevailing orthodoxy—that essentialism of this sort is indispensable to evolutionary biology. The most powerful anti-essentialist arguments purport to show that the natures of organisms play no explanatory role in modern synthesis biology. I argue that recent evolutionary developmental biology provides compelling evidence to the contrary. Developmental biology shows that one must appeal to the capacities of organisms to explain what makes adaptive evolution adaptive. Moreover, the specific capacities in question are precisely those that, according to Aristotle, constitute the nature of an organism. Essentialism 1.1 Aristotelian biological kinds Evolutionary anti-essentialism 2.1 Taxonomic anti-essentialism 2.2 Explanatory anti-essentialism Adaptation 3.1 Stability 3.2 Mutability 3.3 Phenotypic plasticity and adaptive evolution The natures of organisms Conclusion.
|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
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
Travis Dumsday (2010). Natural Kinds and the Problem of Complex Essences. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 88 (4):619-634.
Jonathan Birch (2012). The Negative View of Natural Selection. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C 43 (2):569-573.
Edouard Machery (2008). A Plea for Human Nature. Philosophical Psychology 21 (3):321 – 329.
Richard Samuels (2012). Science and Human Nature. Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 70 (112):1-28.
Bence Nanay (2010). Population Thinking as Trope Nominalism. Synthese 177 (1):91 - 109.
Similar books and articles
David S. Oderberg (2007). Real Essentialism. Routledge.
Marc Ereshefsky (2010). What's Wrong with the New Biological Essentialism. Philosophy of Science 77 (5):674-685.
S. Marc Cohen (1978). Essentialism in Aristotle. Review of Metaphysics 31 (3):387-405.
Elliott Sober (1980). Evolution, Population Thinking, and Essentialism. Philosophy of Science 47 (3):350-383.
Charlotte Witt (2011). What Is Gender Essentialism? In , Feminist Metaphysics. Springer Verlag. 11--25.
D. M. Walsh (2006). Organisms as Natural Purposes: The Contemporary Evolutionary Perspective. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C 37 (4):771-791.
Lauren Tillinghast (2004). Essence and Anti-Essentialism About Art. British Journal of Aesthetics 44 (2):167-183.
Elliott Sober (1994). From a Biological Point of View: Essays in Evolutionary Philosophy. Cambridge University Press.
John S. Wilkins (2010). What is a Species? Essences and Generation. Theory in Biosciences 129:141-148.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads95 ( #15,618 of 1,410,108 )
Recent downloads (6 months)6 ( #38,379 of 1,410,108 )
How can I increase my downloads?