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Species as Ranked Taxa

Systematic Biology 58 (1):74-86 (2009)

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  1. Integrative Taxonomy and the Operationalization of Evolutionary Independence.Stijn Conix - 2018 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 8 (3):587-603.
    There is growing agreement among taxonomists that species are independently evolving lineages. The central notion of this conception, evolutionary independence, is commonly operationalized by taxonomists in multiple, diverging ways. This leads to a problem of operationalization-dependency in species classification, as species delimitation is not only dependent on the properties of the investigated groups, but also on how taxonomists choose to operationalize evolutionary independence. The question then is how the operationalization-dependency of species delimitation is compatible with its objectivity and reliability. In (...)
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  • Population Pluralism and Natural Selection.Jacob Stegenga - 2016 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 67 (1):1-29.
    I defend a radical interpretation of biological populations—what I call population pluralism—which holds that there are many ways that a particular grouping of individuals can be related such that the grouping satisfies the conditions necessary for those individuals to evolve together. More constraining accounts of biological populations face empirical counter-examples and conceptual difficulties. One of the most intuitive and frequently employed conditions, causal connectivity—itself beset with numerous difficulties—is best construed by considering the relevant causal relations as ‘thick’ causal concepts. I (...)
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  • Infinite Graphs in Systematic Biology, with an Application to the Species Problem.Samuel A. Alexander - 2013 - Acta Biotheoretica 61 (2):181--201.
    We argue that C. Darwin and more recently W. Hennig worked at times under the simplifying assumption of an eternal biosphere. So motivated, we explicitly consider the consequences which follow mathematically from this assumption, and the infinite graphs it leads to. This assumption admits certain clusters of organisms which have some ideal theoretical properties of species, shining some light onto the species problem. We prove a dualization of a law of T.A. Knight and C. Darwin, and sketch a decomposition result (...)
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  • The Hunting of the SNaRC: A Snarky Solution to the Species Problem.Brent D. Mishler & John S. Wilkins - 2018 - Philosophy, Theory, and Practice in Biology 10 (1).
    We argue that the logical outcome of the cladistics revolution in biological systematics, and the move towards rankless phylogenetic classification of nested monophyletic groups as formalized in the PhyloCode, is to eliminate the species rank along with all the others and simply name clades. We propose that the lowest level of formally named clade be the SNaRC, the Smallest Named and Registered Clade. The SNaRC is an epistemic level in the classification, not an ontic one. Naming stops at that level (...)
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  • When Monophyly is Not Enough: Exclusivity as the Key to Defining a Phylogenetic Species Concept.Joel D. Velasco - 2009 - Biology and Philosophy 24 (4):473-486.
    A natural starting place for developing a phylogenetic species concept is to examine monophyletic groups of organisms. Proponents of “the” Phylogenetic Species Concept fall into one of two camps. The first camp denies that species even could be monophyletic and groups organisms using character traits. The second groups organisms using common ancestry and requires that species must be monophyletic. I argue that neither view is entirely correct. While monophyletic groups of organisms exist, they should not be equated with species. Instead, (...)
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  • Eliminative Pluralism and Integrative Alternatives: The Case of SPECIES.Matthew J. Barker - forthcoming - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science:axx057.
    Pluralisms of various sorts are popular in philosophy of science, including those that imply some scientific concept X should be eliminated from science in favour of a plurality of concepts X1, X2, … Xn. This paper focuses on influential and representative arguments for such eliminative pluralism about the concept species. The main conclusions are that these arguments fail, that all other extant arguments also fail, and that this reveals a quite general dilemma, one that poses a defeasible presumption against many (...)
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  • Species, Genes, and the Tree of Life.Joel Velasco - 2010 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 61 (3):599-619.
    A common view is that species occupy a unique position on the Tree of Life. Evaluating this claim requires an understanding of what the Tree of Life represents. The Tree represents history, but there are at least three biological levels that are often said to have genealogies: species, organisms, and genes. Here I focus on defending the plausibility of a gene-based account of the Tree. This leads to an account of species that are determined by gene genealogies. On this view, (...)
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  • Phylogeny as Population History.Joel D. Velasco - 2013 - Philosophy, Theory, and Practice in Biology 5:e402.
    The project of this paper is to understand what a phylogenetic tree represents and to discuss some of the implications that this has for the practice of systematics. At least the first part of this task, if not both parts, might appear trivial—or perhaps better suited for a single page in a textbook rather than a scholarly research paper. But this would be a mistake. While the task of interpreting phylogenetic trees is often treated in a trivial way, their interpretation (...)
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  • Philosophy and Phylogenetics.Joel D. Velasco - 2013 - Philosophy Compass 8 (10):990-998.
    Phylogenetics is the study and reconstruction of evolutionary history and is filled with numerous foundational issues of interest to philosophers. This paper briefly introduces some central concepts in the field, describes some of the main methods for inferring phylogenies, and provides some arguments for the superiority of model-based methods such as Likelihood and Bayesian methods over nonparametric methods such as parsimony. It also raises some underdeveloped issues in the field of interest to philosophers.
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  • Population Pluralism and Natural Selection.Jacob Stegenga - 2014 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science (1):axu003.
    I defend a radical interpretation of biological populations—what I call population pluralism—which holds that there are many ways that a particular grouping of individuals can be related such that the grouping satisfies the conditions necessary for those individuals to evolve together. More constraining accounts of biological populations face empirical counter-examples and conceptual difficulties. One of the most intuitive and frequently employed conditions, causal connectivity—itself beset with numerous difficulties—is best construed by considering the relevant causal relations as ‘thick’ causal concepts. I (...)
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