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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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  • 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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  • The Theoretical Costs of DNA Barcoding.Monika Piotrowska - 2009 - Biological Theory 4 (3):235-239.
    I begin with a description of the benefits and limits of DNA barcoding as presented by its advocates not its critics. Next, I argue that due to the mutually dependent relationship between defining and delimiting species, all systems of classification are grounded in theory, even if only implicitly. I then proceed to evaluate DNA barcoding in that context. In particular, I focus on the barcoders’ use of a sharp boundary by which to delimit species, arguing that this boundary brings along (...)
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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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  • Values, Regulation, and Species Delimitation.Stijn Conix - 2018 - Zootaxa 4415 (2):390-392.
    Garnett and Christidis (2017) [hereafter GC] recently proposed that the International Union of the Biological Sciences should centrally regulate the taxonomy of complex organisms. Their proposal was met with much criticism (e.g. Hołyński 2017; Thomson et al., 2018), and perhaps most extensively from Raposo et al. (2017) in this journal. The main target of this criticism was GC’s call to, first, “restrict the freedom of taxonomic action”, and, second, to let social, political and conservation values weigh in on species classification. (...)
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  • Species as Ranked Taxa.David A. Baum - 2009 - Systematic Biology 58 (1):74-86.
    -/- Because species names play an important role in scientific communication, it is more important that species be understood to be taxa than that they be equated with functional ecological or evolutionary entities. Although most biologists would agree that taxa are composed of organisms that share a unique common history, 2 major challenges remain in developing a species-as-taxa concept. First, grouping: in the face of genealogical discordance at all levels in the taxonomic hierarchy, how can we understand the nature of (...)
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  • 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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  • 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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  • Biological Essentialism and the Tidal Change of Natural Kinds.John S. Wilkins - 2013 - Science & Education 22 (2):221-240.
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  • Darwin’s Solution to the Species Problem.Marc Ereshefsky - 2010 - Synthese 175 (3):405 - 425.
    Biologists and philosophers that debate the existence of the species category fall into two camps. Some believe that the species category does not exist and the term 'species' should be eliminated from biology. Others believe that with new biological insights or the application of philosophical ideas, we can be confident that the species category exists. This paper offers a different approach to the species problem. We should be skeptical of the species category, but not skeptical of the existence of those (...)
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  • Organismal Natures.Devin Henry - 2008 - Apeiron (3):47-74.
  • Bacterial Species Pluralism in the Light of Medicine and Endosymbiosis.Javier Suárez - 2016 - Theoria: Revista de Teoría, Historia y Fundamentos de la Ciencia 31 (1):91-105.
    This paper aims to offer a new argument in defence bacterial species pluralism. To do so, I shall first present the particular issues derived from the conflict between the non-theoretical understanding of species as units of classification and the theoretical comprehension of them as units of evolution. Secondly, I shall justify the necessity of the concept of species for the bacterial world, and show how medicine and endosymbiotic evolutionary theory make use of different concepts of bacterial species due to their (...)
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  • Species Pluralism: Conceptual, Ontological, and Practical Dimensions.Bzovy Justin - unknown
    Species are central to biology, but there is currently no agreement on what the adequate species concept should be, and many have adopted a pluralist stance: different species concepts will be required for different purposes. This thesis is a multidimensional analysis of species pluralism. First I explicate how pluralism differs monism and relativism. I then consider the history of species pluralism. I argue that we must re-frame the species problem, and that re-evaluating Aristotle's role in the histories of systematics can (...)
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  • 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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  • The Biosemiotic Concept of the Species.Kalevi Kull - 2016 - Biosemiotics 9 (1):61-71.
    Any biological species of biparental organisms necessarily includes, and is fundamentally dependent on, sign processes between individuals. In this case, the natural category of the species is based on family resemblances, which is why a species is not a natural kind. We describe the mechanism that generates the family resemblance. An individual recognition window and biparental reproduction almost suffice as conditions to produce species naturally. This is due to assortativity of mating which is not based on certain individual traits, but (...)
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  • Human Nature and Respect for the Evolutionarily Given: A Comment on Lewens.Russell Powell - 2012 - Philosophy and Technology 25 (4):485-493.
    Any serious ethical discussion of the enhancement of human nature must begin with a reasonably accurate picture of the causal-historical structure of the living world. In this Comment, I show that even biologically sophisticated ethical discussions of the biomedical enhancement of species and speciel natures are susceptible to the kind of essentialistic thinking that Lewens cautions against. Furthermore, I argue that the same evolutionary and developmental considerations that compel Lewens to reject more plausible conceptions of human nature pose equally serious (...)
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