David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Biology and Philosophy 11 (3):405-420 (1996)
Species are thought by many to be important units of evolution. In this paper, I argue against that view. My argument is based on an examination of the role of species in the synthetic theory of evolution. I argue that if one adopts a gradualist view of evolution, one cannot make sense of the claim that species are units in the minimal sense needed to claim that they are units of evolution, namely, that they exist as discrete entities over time. My second argument is directed against an appeal to Eldredge and Gould's theory of punctuated equilibria to support the claim that species are units of evolution. If one adopts their view, it may be possible to identify discrete temporal entities that can plausibly be termed species, but there is no reason to claim that those entities are units of evolution. Thus, on two plausible interpretations of the role of natural selection in the process of evolution, species are of no special importance. I then consider some of the reasons why species have been thought to be important evolutionary units by many contemporary evolutionary biologists. Finally, I discuss briefly the implications of this conclusion for evolutionary biology.
|Keywords||species evolution natural selection gradualism punctuated equilibria variation Lamarck Darwin|
|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
Ernst Mayr (1963). Animal Species and Evolution. Belknap of Harvard University Press.
David L. Hull (1978). A Matter of Individuality. Philosophy of Science 45 (3):335-360.
Ernst Mayr (1970). Populations, Species and Evolution: An Abridgment of Animal Species and Evolution. Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.
David L. Hull (1980). Individuality and Selection. Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics 11:311-332.
David Hull (1976). Are Species Really Individuals? Systematic Zoology 25:174-91.
Citations of this work BETA
Andreas De Block (2008). Why Mental Disorders Are Just Mental Dysfunctions (and Nothing More): Some Darwinian Arguments. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C 39 (3):338-346.
Andreas De Block (2008). Why Mental Disorders Are Just Mental Dysfunctions : Some Darwinian Arguments. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 39 (3):338-346.
Similar books and articles
Lawrence E. Johnson (1992). Toward the Moral Considerability of Species and Ecosystems. Environmental Ethics 14 (2):145-157.
Marc Ereshefsky (1991). Species, Higher Taxa, and the Units of Evolution. Philosophy of Science 58 (1):84-101.
J. Dupre (2001). In Defence of Classification. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C 32 (2):203-219.
Olivier Rieppel (2009). Species as a Process. Acta Biotheoretica (1-2):33-49.
Christopher D. Horvath (1997). Discussion: Phylogenetic Species Concept: Pluralism, Monism, and History. [REVIEW] Biology and Philosophy 12 (2):225-232.
Masakado Kawata (1987). Units and Passages: A View for Evolutionary Biology and Ecology. [REVIEW] Biology and Philosophy 2 (4):415-434.
Niles Eldredge (1984). Large-Scale Biological Entities and the Evolutionary Process. PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1984:551-566.
Paul Thompson (1983). Tempo and Mode in Evolution: Punctuated Equilibria and the Modern Synthetic Theory. Philosophy of Science 50 (3):432 - 452.
Joel Cracraft (1987). Species Concepts and the Ontology of Evolution. Biology and Philosophy 2 (3):329-346.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads17 ( #213,899 of 1,796,421 )
Recent downloads (6 months)1 ( #467,616 of 1,796,421 )
How can I increase my downloads?