Are species sets?

Biology and Philosophy 6 (4):413-431 (1991)
I construe the question Are species sets? as a question about whether species can be conceived of as sets, as the term set is understood by contemporary logicians. The question is distinct from the question Are species classes?: The conception of classes invoked by Hull and others differs from the logician's conception of a set. I argue that species can be conceived of as sets, insofar as one could identify a set with any given species and that identification would satisfy three desiderata: the set would be a set of organisms, the identification would be apposite, and the identification would permit the formulation of statements about species in set-theoretic terms. One cannot, however, identify a species with any given set. Understanding the claim that species are sets in this way enables one to understand better the dispute between some who accept the claim (e.g., Kitcher 1984, 1987) and some who apparently reject it (e.g., Mayr 1987).
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    References found in this work BETA
    David L. Hull (1978). A Matter of Individuality. Philosophy of Science 45 (3):335-360.
    Philip Kitcher (1984). Species. Philosophy of Science 51 (2):308-333.

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