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  1. Essentialism in Biology.John S. Wilkins - manuscript
    Essentialism in philosophy is the position that things, especially kinds of things, have essences, or sets of properties, that all members of the kind must have, and the combination of which only members of the kind do, in fact, have. It is usually thought to derive from classical Greek philosophy and in particular from Aristotle’s notion of “what it is to be” something. In biology, it has been claimed that pre-evolutionary views of living kinds, or as they are sometimes called, (...)
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  2. Human Reproductive Cloning: Science, Jewish Law and Metaphysics.Barbara Pfeffer Billauer - forthcoming - ssrn.com.
    Abstract: Under traditional Jewish Law (halacha), assessment of human reproductive cloning (HRC) has been formulated along four lines of inquiry, which I discussed in Part I of this paper. Therein I also analyze five relevant doctrines of Talmudic Law, concluding that under with a risk-benefit analysis HRC fails to fulfill the obligation ‘to be fruitful and multiply’ and should be strictly prohibited. Here, I review of the topic from an exigetical Biblical and Kabbalistic perspective, beginning with exploring comments of the (...)
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  3. Essence, Modality, and Intrinsicality.Gaétan Bovey - forthcoming - Synthese:1-23.
    Kit Fine famously objected against the idea that essence can be successfully analyzed in terms of de re necessity. In response, I want to explore a novel, interesting, but controversial modal account of essence in terms of intrinsicality and grounding. In the first section, I will single out two theoretical requirements that any essentialist theory should meet—the essentialist desideratum and the essentialist challenge—in order to clarify Fine’s objections. In the second section, I will assess Denby’s improved modal account, which appeals (...)
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  4. Scientific Realism with Historical Essences: The Case of Species.Marion Godman - forthcoming - Synthese:1-17.
    Natural kinds, real kinds, or, following J.S Mill simply, Kinds, are thought to be an important asset for scientific realists in the non-fundamental (or “special”) sciences. Essential natures are less in vogue. I show that the realist would do well to couple her Kinds with essential natures in order to strengthen their epistemic and ontological credentials. I argue that these essential natures need not however be intrinsic to the Kind’s members; they may be historical. I concentrate on assessing the merits (...)
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  5. Typology and Natural Kinds in Evo-Devo.Ingo Brigandt - 2021 - In Laura Nuño De La Rosa & Gerd Müller (eds.), Evolutionary Developmental Biology: A Reference Guide. Cham: Springer. pp. 483-493.
    The traditional practice of establishing morphological types and investigating morphological organization has found new support from evolutionary developmental biology (evo-devo), especially with respect to the notion of body plans. Despite recurring claims that typology is at odds with evolutionary thinking, evo-devo offers mechanistic explanations of the evolutionary origin, transformation, and evolvability of morphological organization. In parallel, philosophers have developed non-essentialist conceptions of natural kinds that permit kinds to exhibit variation and undergo change. This not only facilitates a construal of species (...)
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  6. Natural kind terms again.Panu Raatikainen - 2021 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 11 (1):1-17.
    The new externalist picture of natural kind terms due to Kripke, Putnam, and others has become quite popular in philosophy. Many philosophers of science have remained sceptical. Häggqvist and Wikforss have recently criticised this view severely. They contend it depends essentially on a micro-essentialist view of natural kinds that is widely rejected among philosophers of science, and that a scientifically reasonable metaphysics entails the resurrection of some version of descriptivism. It is argued in this paper that the situation is not (...)
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  7. The Limits of Neo‐Aristotelian Plenitude.Joshua Spencer - 2020 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 101 (1):74-92.
    Neo‐Aristotelian Plenitude is the thesis that, necessarily, any property that could be had essentially by something or other is had essentially by something or other if and only if and because it is instantiated; any essentializable property is essentialized iff and because it is instantiated. In this paper, I develop a partial nonmodal characterization of ‘essentializable' and show it cannot be transformed into a full characterization. There are several seemingly insurmountable obstacles that any full characterization of essentializability must overcome. Moreover, (...)
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  8. Aristotle's Anthropology.Nora Kreft & Geert Keil (eds.) - 2019 - Cambridge University Press.
    This is the first collection of essays devoted specifically to the nature and significance of Aristotle's anthropological philosophy, covering the full range of his ethical, metaphysical and biological works. The book is organised into four parts, two of which deal with the metaphysics and biology of human nature and two of which discuss the anthropological foundations and implications of Aristotle's ethico-political works. The essay topics range from human nature and morality to friendship and politics, including original discussion and fresh perspectives (...)
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  9. Biological Classification: A Philosophical Introduction. [REVIEW]Justin Bzovy - 2018 - Philosophical Quarterly 68 (271):400-403.
    © The Author 2017. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The Scots Philosophical Association and the University of St Andrews. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail: journals.permissions@oup.com...Richard A. Richards offers a comprehensive introduction to biological classification: ‘the comparison and grouping of organisms, the naming of these groups, the theoretical basis for grouping, and the philosophical foundations for systems of grouping’. This book functions as an introduction to philosophy for biologists, an introduction to biology for philosophers and an (...)
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  10. Individual Essentialism in Biology.Michael Devitt - 2018 - Biology and Philosophy 33 (5-6):39.
    A few philosophers of biology have recently explicitly rejected Essential Membership, the doctrine that if an individual organism belongs to a taxon, particularly a species, it does so essentially. But philosophers of biology have not addressed the broader issue, much discussed by metaphysicians on the basis of modal intuitions, of what is essential to the organism. In this paper, I address that issue from a biological basis, arguing for the Kripkean view that an organism has a partly intrinsic, partly historical, (...)
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  11. What’s Left of Human Nature? A Post-Essentialist, Pluralist and Interactive Account of a Contested Concept.Maria Kronfeldner - 2018 - Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
    Human nature has always been a foundational issue for philosophy. What does it mean to have a human nature? Is the concept the relic of a bygone age? What is the use of such a concept? What are the epistemic and ontological commitments people make when they use the concept? In What’s Left of Human Nature? Maria Kronfeldner offers a philosophical account of human nature that defends the concept against contemporary criticism. In particular, she takes on challenges related to social (...)
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  12. Species: The Evolution of the Idea.John Wilkins - 2018 - Boca Raton: CRC Press.
    Features Covers the philosophical and historical development of the concept of "species" Documents that variation was recognized by pre-Darwinian scholars Includes a section on the debates since the time of the New Synthesis Better suited to non-philosophers Summary Over time the complex idea of "species" has evolved, yet its meaning is far from resolved. This comprehensive work is a fresh look at an idea central to the field of biology by tracing its history from antiquity to today. Species is a (...)
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  13. The Individuality Thesis (3 Ways).Matthew Haber - 2016 - Biology and Philosophy 31 (6):913-930.
    I spell out and update the individuality thesis, that species are individuals, and not classes, sets, or kinds. I offer three complementary presentations of this thesis. First, as a way of resolving an inconsistent triad about natural kinds; second, as a phylogenetic systematics theoretical perspective; and, finally, as a novel recursive account of an evolved character. These approaches do different sorts of work, serving different interests. Presenting them together produces a taxonomy of the debates over the thesis, and isolates ways (...)
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  14. The Politics of Human Nature.Maria Kronfeldner - 2016 - In Tibayrenc M. & Ayala F. J. (eds.), On human nature: Evolution, diversity, psychology, ethics, politics and religion. Academic Press. pp. 625-632.
    Human nature is a concept that transgresses the boundary between science and society and between fact and value. It is as much a political concept as it is a scientific one. This chapter will cover the politics of human nature by using evidence from history, anthropology and social psychology. The aim is to show that an important political function of the vernacular concept of human nature is social demarcation (inclusion/exclusion): it is involved in regulating who is ‘us’ and who is (...)
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  15. Not So Human, After All?Brendan Shea - 2016 - In C. Lewis & K. McCain (eds.), Red Rising and Philosophy. Chicago, IL: Open Court. pp. 15-25.
    If asked to explain why the Golds’ treatment of other colors in Red Rising is wrong, it is tempting to say something like “they are all human beings, and it is wrong to treat humans in this way!” In this essay, I’ll argue that this simple answer is considerably complicated by the fact that the different colors might not be members of the same biological species, and it is in fact unclear whether any of them are the same species as (...)
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  16. Prototypical Reasoning About Species and the Species Problem.Yuichi Amitani - 2015 - Biological Theory 10 (4):289-300.
    The species problem is often described as the abundance of conflicting definitions of _species_, such as the biological species concept and phylogenetic species concepts. But biologists understand the notion of species in a non-definitional as well as a definitional way. In this article I argue that when they understand _species_ without a definition in their mind, their understanding is often mediated by the notion of _good species_, or prototypical species, as the idea of ``prototype'' is explicated in cognitive psychology. This (...)
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  17. Thomas Aquinas: Teacher of Transhumanity?John Boyer & Geoffrey Meadows - 2015 - In John P. Hittinger & Daniel C. Wagner (eds.), Thomas Aquinas: Teacher of Humanity. Newcastle Upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing. pp. 176-187.
  18. Changing Kinds: Aristotle and the Aristotelians.Stephen R. L. Clark - 2015 - Diametros 45:19-34.
    Aristotle is routinely blamed for several errors that, it is supposed, held 'science' back for centuries - among others, a belief in distinct, homogenous and unchanging species of living creatures, an essentialist account of human nature, and a suggestion that 'slavery' was a natural institution. This paper briefly examines Aristotle's own arguments and opinions, and the perils posed by a contrary belief in changeable species. Contrary to received opinion even amongst some of his followers, Aristotle was not a species essentialist (...)
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  19. Grene and Hull on Types and Typological Thinking in Biology.Phillip Honenberger - 2015 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 50:13-25.
    Marjorie Grene (1910-2009) and David Hull (1935-2010) were among the most influential voices in late twentieth-century philosophy of biology. But, as Grene and Hull pointed out in published discussions of one another’s work over the course of nearly forty years, they disagreed strongly on fundamental issues. Among these contested issues is the role of what is sometimes called “typology” and “typological thinking” in biology. In regard to taxonomy and the species problem, Hull joined Ernst Mayr’s construal of typological thinking as (...)
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  20. Species, Historicity, and Path Dependency.Marc Ereshefsky - 2014 - Philosophy of Science 81 (5):714-726.
    This paper clarifies the historical nature of species by showing that species are path-dependent entities. A species’ identity is not determined by its intrinsic properties or its origin, but by its unique evolutionary path. Seeing that species are path-dependent entities has three implications: it shows that origin essentialism is mistaken, it rebuts two challenges to the species-are-historical-entities thesis, and it demonstrates that the identity of a species during speciation depends on future events.
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  21. The Birds and the Bees: Aristotle on the Biological Concept of Analogy.Devin Henry - 2014 - In Gary M. Gurtler S. J. & William Wians (eds.), Proceedings of the Boston Area Colloquium in Ancient Philosophy. Brill. pp. 145-169.
  22. De Re Essentialism, Species, and Modal Ambiguity.Ross Inman - 2014 - Metaphysica 15 (1).
    I offer a concise critique of a recurring line of reasoning advanced by Joseph LaPorte and Samir Okasha that all modern species concepts render the view that biological organisms essentially belong to their species empirically untenable. The argument, I claim, trades on a crucial modal ambiguity that collapses the de re/de dicto distinction. Contra their claim that the continued adherence of such a view on behalf of contemporary metaphysicians stems from the latter’s ignorance of developments in modern biology, the modal (...)
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  23. Recent Work on Human Nature: Beyond Traditional Essences.Maria Kronfeldner, Neil Roughley & Georg Toepfer - 2014 - Philosophy Compass 9 (9):642-652.
    Recent philosophical work on the concept of human nature disagrees on how to respond to the Darwinian challenge, according to which biological species do not have traditional essences. Three broad kinds of reactions can be distinguished: conservative intrinsic essentialism, which defends essences in the traditional sense, eliminativism, which suggests dropping the concept of human nature altogether, and constructive approaches, which argue that revisions can generate sensible concepts of human nature beyond traditional essences. The different constructive approaches pick out one or (...)
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  24. Origin Essentialism in Biology.Makmiller Pedroso - 2014 - Philosophical Quarterly 64 (254):60-81.
    Kripke argues for origin essentialism, the view that the same individual cannot have multiple origins. Sober hypothesises that Kripke's origin essentialism applies to biological species. This paper shows that Sober's hypothesis fails. Because Kripke's original argument is invalid, it cannot vindicate Sober's proposal. Salmon offers an influential reformulation of Kripke's argument but his argument fails to extend to species: the notion of an individual's origin is too narrow to apply to species, and Salmon's argument rests on a thought experiment that (...)
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  25. Biological Explanations, Realism, Ontology, and Categories.Matthew J. Barker - 2013 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 44 (4):617-622.
  26. Deep Conventionalism About Evolutionary Groups.Matthew J. Barker & Joel D. Velasco - 2013 - Philosophy of Science 80 (5):971-982.
    We argue for a new conventionalism about many kinds of evolutionary groups, including clades, cohesive units, and populations. This rejects a consensus, which says that given any one of the many legitimate grouping concepts, only objective biological facts determine whether a collection is such a group. Surprisingly, being any one kind of evolutionary group typically depends on which of many incompatible values are taken by suppressed variables. This is a novel pluralism underlying most any one group concept, rather than a (...)
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  27. The Species Problem: A Philosophical Analysis, by Richard Richards.: Book Reviews. [REVIEW]Makmiller Pedroso - 2013 - Mind 122 (488):1180-1182.
  28. Are Species Real? An Essay on the Metaphysics of Species.Matthew H. Slater - 2013 - Palgrave-Macmillan.
  29. Biological Essentialism and the Tidal Change of Natural Kinds.John S. Wilkins - 2013 - Science & Education 22 (2):221-240.
    The vision of natural kinds that is most common in the modern philosophy of biology, particularly with respect to the question whether species and other taxa are natural kinds, is based on a revision of the notion by Mill in A System of Logic. However, there was another conception that Whewell had previously captured well, which taxonomists have always employed, of kinds as being types that need not have necessary and sufficient characters and properties, or essences. These competing views employ (...)
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  30. A New Argument For Intrinsic Biological Essentialism.Travis Dumsday - 2012 - Philosophical Quarterly 62 (248):486-504.
    Intrinsic biological essentialism (INBE) is the view that biological taxa have fixed identity conditions, conditions which consist at least in part of intrinsic properties. After a long period of near universal rejection within both philosophy of biology and theoretical biology, INBE is making a comeback. Here I attempt to support this revival by clarifying the nature of INBE, developing a new argument on its behalf, and addressing an important anti-essentialist critique.
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  31. Essentialism, History, and Biological Taxa.Makmiller Pedroso - 2012 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 43 (1):182-190.
    de Queiroz (1995), Griffiths (1999) and LaPorte (2004) offer a new version of essentialism called "historical essentialism". According to this version of essentialism, relations of common ancestry are essential features of biological taxa. The main type of argument for this essentialism proposed by Griffiths (1999) and LaPorte (2004) is that the dominant school of classification, cladism, defines biological taxa in terms of common ancestry. The goal of this paper is to show that this argument for historical essentialism is unsatisfactory: cladism (...)
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  32. Aristotle’s Pluralistic Realism.Devin Henry - 2011 - The Monist 94 (2):197-220.
    In this paper I explore Aristotle’s views on natural kinds and the compatibility of pluralism and realism, a topic that has generated considerable interest among contemporary philosophers. I argue that, when it came to zoology, Aristotle denied that there is only one way of organizing the diversity of the living world into natural kinds that will yield a single, unified system of classification. Instead, living things can be grouped and regrouped into various cross-cutting kinds on the basis of objective similarities (...)
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  33. Three Ways of Resisting Essentialism About Natural Kinds.Bence Nanay - 2011 - In J. K. Campbell & M. H. Slater (eds.), Carving Nature at its Joints: Natural Kinds in Metaphysics and Science. MIT Press. pp. 175--97.
    Essentialism about natural kinds has three tenets. The first tenet is that all and only members of a natural kind has some essential properties. The second tenet is that these essential properties play a causal role. The third tenet is that they are explanatorily relevant. I examine the prospects of questioning these tenets and point out that arguing against the first and the second tenets of kind-essentialism would involve taking parts in some of the grand debates of philosophy. But, at (...)
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  34. Against Species Essentialism: John S. Wilkins: Species: A History of the Idea. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2009. Xiv+320 Pp, $49.95 HB.Olivier Rieppel - 2011 - Metascience 20 (2):339-341.
    Against species essentialism Content Type Journal Article DOI 10.1007/s11016-010-9448-6 Authors Olivier Rieppel, Department of Geology, The Field Museum, 1400 South Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, IL 60605-2496, USA Journal Metascience Online ISSN 1467-9981 Print ISSN 0815-0796.
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  35. Philosophically Speaking, How Many Species Concepts Are There?John S. Wilkins - 2011 - Zootaxa 2765:58–60.
  36. Specious intrinsicalism.Matthew J. Barker - 2010 - Philosophy of Science 77 (1):73-91.
    Over the last 2,300 years or so, many philosophers have believed that species are individuated by essences that are at least in part intrinsic. Psychologists tell us most folks also believe this view. But most philosophers of biology have abandoned the view, in light of evolutionary conceptions of species. In defiance, Michael Devitt has attempted in this journal to resurrect a version of the view, which he calls Intrinsic Biological Essentialism. I show that his arguments for the resurrection fail, and (...)
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  37. Cohesion, Gene Flow, and the Nature of Species.Matthew J. Barker & Robert A. Wilson - 2010 - Journal of Philosophy 107 (2):59-77.
    A far-reaching and influential view in evolutionary biology claims that species are cohesive units held together by gene flow. Biologists have recognized empirical problems facing this view; after sharpening the expression of the view, we present novel conceptual problems for it. At the heart of these problems is a distinction between two importantly different concepts of cohesion, what we call integrative and response cohesion. Acknowledging the distinction problematizes both the explanandum of species cohesion and the explanans of gene flow that (...)
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  38. Defending an Essentialist Ontology of Kinds, Laws, and Biological Taxa.Travis Dumsday - 2010 - Dissertation, Proquest
  39. Species.Marc Ereshefsky - 2010 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
  40. What's Wrong with the New Biological Essentialism.Marc Ereshefsky - 2010 - Philosophy of Science 77 (5):674-685.
    The received view in the 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 article critically evaluates the new biological essentialism. This article’s thesis is that the costs of adopting the new biological essentialism are many, yet the benefits are none, so (...)
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  41. Locke on Real Essences, Intelligibility, and Natural Kinds.Jan-Erik Jones - 2010 - Journal of Philosophical Research 35:147-172.
    In this paper I criticize arguments by Pauline Phemister and Matthew Stuart that John Locke's position in his An Essay Concerning Human Understanding allows for natural kinds based on similarities among real essences. On my reading of Locke, not only are similarities among real essences irrelevant to species, but natural kind theories based on them are unintelligible.
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  42. New Essentialism in Biology.Olivier Rieppel - 2010 - Philosophy of Science 77 (5):662-673.
    The architects of the modern synthesis banned essentialism from evolutionary theory. This rejection of essentialism was motivated by Darwin’s theory of natural selection, and the continuity of evolutionary transformation. Contemporary evolutionary biology witnesses a renaissance of essentialism in three contexts: “origin essentialism” with respect to species and supraspecific taxa, the bar coding of species on the basis of discontinuities of DNA variation between populations, and the search for laws of evolutionary developmental biology. Such “new essentialism” in contemporary biology must be (...)
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  43. What is a Species? Essences and Generation.John S. Wilkins - 2010 - Theory in Biosciences 129:141-148.
    Arguments against essentialism in biology rely strongly on a claim that modern biology abandoned Aristotle's notion of a species as a class of necessary and sufficient properties. However, neither his theory of essentialism, nor his logical definition of species and genus (eidos and genos) play much of a role in biological research and taxonomy, including his own. The objections to natural kinds thinking by early twentieth century biologists wrestling with the new genetics overlooked the fact that species have typical developmental (...)
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  44. Homology: Homeostatic Property Cluster Kinds in Systematics and Evolution.Leandro Assis & Ingo Brigandt - 2009 - Evolutionary Biology 36:248-255.
    Taxa and homologues can in our view be construed both as kinds and as individuals. However, the conceptualization of taxa as natural kinds in the sense of homeostatic property cluster kinds has been criticized by some systematists, as it seems that even such kinds cannot evolve due to their being homeostatic. We reply by arguing that the treatment of transformational and taxic homologies, respectively, as dynamic and static aspects of the same homeostatic property cluster kind represents a good perspective for (...)
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  45. Natural Kinds in Evolution and Systematics: Metaphysical and Epistemological Considerations.Ingo Brigandt - 2009 - Acta Biotheoretica 57 (1-2):77-97.
    Despite the traditional focus on metaphysical issues in discussions of natural kinds in biology, epistemological considerations are at least as important. By revisiting the debate as to whether taxa are kinds or individuals, I argue that both accounts are metaphysically compatible, but that one or the other approach can be pragmatically preferable depending on the epistemic context. Recent objections against construing species as homeostatic property cluster kinds are also addressed. The second part of the paper broadens the perspective by considering (...)
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  46. Sperm, Eggs and Hunks: Biological Origins and Identity. [REVIEW]Nic Damnjanovic - 2009 - Acta Analytica 24 (2):113-126.
    In several publications Graeme Forbes has developed and defended one of the strongest arguments for essentialism about biological origins. I attempt to show that there are deep, as yet unrecognized, problems with this argument. The problems with Forbes’s argument suggest that a range of other arguments for various forms of origin essentialism are also likely to be flawed, and that we should abandon the seemingly plausible general metaphysical thesis that concrete entities that share all intrinsic properties are identical.
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  47. The Origins of 'Natural Kinds': Keeping 'Essentialism' at Bay in the Age of Reform.Gordon McOuat - 2009 - Intellectual History Review 19 (2):211-230.
  48. Essentialism and Reference to Kinds: Three Issues in Penelope Mackie'show Things Might Have Been: Individuals, Kinds, and Essential Properties.Teresa Robertson - 2009 - Philosophical Books 50 (3):125-141.
  49. Species: A History of the Idea.John Wilkins - 2009 - Univ of California Pr.
    "--Joel Cracraft, American Museum of Natural History "This is not the potted history that one usually finds in texts and review articles.
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  50. Defining Species: A Sourcebook From Antiquity to Today.John S. Wilkins - 2009 - Peter Lang.
    Defining Species: A Sourcebook from Antiquity to Today provides excerpts and commentary on the definition of «species from source material ranging from the ...
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