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  1. Psa 2018.Philsci-Archive -Preprint Volume- - unknown
    These preprints were automatically compiled into a PDF from the collection of papers deposited in PhilSci-Archive in conjunction with the PSA 2018.
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  • Naming and contingency: the type method of biological taxonomy.Joeri Witteveen - 2015 - Biology and Philosophy 30 (4):569-586.
    Biological taxonomists rely on the so-called ‘type method’ to regulate taxonomic nomenclature. For each newfound taxon, they lay down a ‘type specimen’ that carries with it the name of the taxon it belongs to. Even if a taxon’s circumscription is unknown and/or subject to change, it remains a necessary truth that the taxon’s type specimen falls within its boundaries. Philosophers have noted some time ago that this naming practice is in line with the causal theory of reference and its central (...)
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  • Putting races on the ontological map: a close look at Spencer’s ‘new biologism’ of race.Eric Winsberg - 2022 - Biology and Philosophy 37 (6):1-25.
    In a large and impressive body of published work, Quayshawn Spencer has meticulously articulated and defended a metaphysical project aimed at resuscitating a biological conception of race—one free from many of the pitfalls of biological essentialism. If successful, such a project would be highly rewarding, since it would provide a compelling response to philosophers who have denied the genuine existence of race while avoiding the very dangers that they sought to avoid. The aim of this paper is to subject those (...)
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  • How to be a chaste species pluralist-realist: The origins of species modes and the synapomorphic species concept.John S. Wilkins - 2003 - Biology and Philosophy 18 (5):621-638.
    The biological species (biospecies) concept applies only to sexually reproducing species, which means that until sexual reproduction evolved, there were no biospecies. On the universal tree of life, biospecies concepts therefore apply only to a relatively small number of clades, notably plants andanimals. I argue that it is useful to treat the various ways of being a species (species modes) as traits of clades. By extension from biospecies to the other concepts intended to capture the natural realities of what keeps (...)
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  • Promiscuous Realism.Robert A. Wilson - 1996 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 47 (2):303-316.
    This paper is a critical discussion of John Dupré's recent defence of promiscuous realism in Part 1 of his The Disorder of Things: Metaphysical Foundations of the Disunity of Science. It also discusses some more general issues in the philosophy of biology and science. Dupré's chief strategy of argumentation appeals to debates within the philosophy of biology, all of which concern the nature of species. While the strategy is well motivated, I argue that Dupré's challenge to essentialist and unificationist views (...)
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  • Confusion in cladism.Patricia A. Williams - 1992 - Synthese 91 (1-2):135 - 152.
    In Phylogenetic Systematics (1966), Willi Hennig conflates the Linnaean hierarchy with what Hennig refers to as the divisional hierarchy. In doing so, he lays the foundations of that school of biological taxonomy known as cladism on a philosophically ambiguous basis. This paper compares and contrasts the two hierarchies and demonstrates that Hennig conflates them. It shows that Hennig's followers also conflate them. Finally, it illuminates five persistent problems in cladism by suggesting that they arise from Hennig's original confusion.
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  • Changing conceptions of species.Bradley E. Wilson - 1996 - Biology and Philosophy 11 (3):405-420.
    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. (...)
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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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  • Are species sets?Bradley E. Wilson - 1991 - Biology and Philosophy 6 (4):413-431.
    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 (...)
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  • A (not-so-radical) solution to the species problem.Bradley E. Wilson - 1995 - Biology and Philosophy 10 (3):339-356.
    What are species? One popular answer is that species are individuals. Here I develop another approach to thinking about species, an approach based on the notion of a lineage. A lineage is a sequence of reproducing entities, individuated in terms of its components. I argue that one can conceive of species as groups of lineages, either organism lineages or population lineages. Conceiving of species as groups of lineages resolves the problems that the individual conception of species is supposed to resolve. (...)
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  • A Cladist is a systematist who seeks a natural classification: some comments on Quinn.David M. Williams & Malte C. Ebach - 2018 - Biology and Philosophy 33 (1-2):10.
    In response to Quinn we identify cladistics to be about natural classifications and their discovery and thereby propose to add an eighth cladistic definition to Quinn’s list, namely the systematist who seeks to discover natural classifications, regardless of their affiliation, theoretical or methodological justifications.
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  • Natural selection and self-organization.Bruce H. Weber & David J. Depew - 1996 - Biology and Philosophy 11 (1):33-65.
    The Darwinian concept of natural selection was conceived within a set of Newtonian background assumptions about systems dynamics. Mendelian genetics at first did not sit well with the gradualist assumptions of the Darwinian theory. Eventually, however, Mendelism and Darwinism were fused by reformulating natural selection in statistical terms. This reflected a shift to a more probabilistic set of background assumptions based upon Boltzmannian systems dynamics. Recent developments in molecular genetics and paleontology have put pressure on Darwinism once again. Current work (...)
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  • Causes, kinds and forms.Gerry Webster - 1993 - Acta Biotheoretica 41 (4):275-287.
    Realist philosophies of science posit a dialectical relation between theoretical, explanatory knowledge and practical, including taxonomic knowledge. This paper examines the dialectic between the theory of descent and empirical, Linnaean taxonomy which is based on a logic of traditional classes. It considers the arguments of David Hull to the effect that many of the practical problems of empirical classification can be resolved by means of an ontology based upon the theory of descent in which species taxa are regarded as individuals (...)
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  • Causal regularities in the biological world of contingent distributions.C. Kenneth Waters - 1998 - Biology and Philosophy 13 (1):5-36.
    Former discussions of biological generalizations have focused on the question of whether there are universal laws of biology. These discussions typically analyzed generalizations out of their investigative and explanatory contexts and concluded that whatever biological generalizations are, they are not universal laws. The aim of this paper is to explain what biological generalizations are by shifting attention towards the contexts in which they are drawn. I argue that within the context of any particular biological explanation or investigation, biologists employ two (...)
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  • Individuals versus Individualities: A Darwinian Approach.Jorge Wagensberg, Ambrosio García Leal & Henrique G. P. Lins Barrodes - 2010 - Biological Theory 5 (1):87-95.
    The idea that natural selection acts on many levels—and not only at the level of organisms or individual genes—is increasingly accepted among biologists. However, it is not easy to reconcile this idea with the strictly “individualistic” conception of the evolutionary process that has always characterized Darwinian thought. Moreover, the individuality of some forms of life is a vague concept and therefore controversial. This is the case of Candidatus Magnetoglobus multicellularis, whose discovery immediately inspired the following question: Does the concept of (...)
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  • Individuals versus Individualities: A Darwinian Approach.Jorge Wagensberg, Ambrosio García Leal & Henrique G. P. Lins de Barros - 2010 - Biological Theory 5 (1):87-95.
    The idea that natural selection acts on many levels—and not only at the level of organisms or individual genes—is increasingly accepted among biologists. However, it is not easy to reconcile this idea with the strictly “individualistic” conception of the evolutionary process that has always characterized Darwinian thought. Moreover, the individuality of some forms of life is a vague concept and therefore controversial. This is the case of Candidatus Magnetoglobus multicellularis, whose discovery immediately inspired the following question: Does the concept of (...)
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  • A discussion about the limits of the species concept.Mariano Martín Villuendas - 2019 - Humanities Journal of Valparaiso 14:241-273.
    The conceptual dilemma that species entail has divided, since its formulation, biologists and philosophers in two spheres: those who believe in the existence of a unified category of species and those who defend the unyielding plurality of equally legitimate concepts. The aim of this paper is to comprise the analysis of the problems that revolve around the species category with the only purpose being to determine the existence of only one univocal and unrestricted definition of species. For this reason, the (...)
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  • Threads that Guide or Ties that Bind: William Kirby and the Essentialism Story.Charissa S. Varma - 2009 - Journal of the History of Biology 42 (1):119-149.
    Nineteenth-century British entomologist William Kirby is best known for his generic division of bees based on tongues and his vigorous defence of natural theology. Focusing on these aspects of Kirby's work has lead many current scholars to characterise Kirby as an "essentialist." As a result of this characterisation, many important aspects of his work, Monographia Apum Angliœ (1802) have been over-looked or misunderstood. Kirby's religious devotion, for example, have lead some scholars to assume Kirby used the term "type" for connecting (...)
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  • Omnipotence and spatiotemporally restricted entities.Kevin Vandergriff - 2018 - International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 84 (1):3-29.
    Many people who claim that evolution and theism are in tension assume that God, being omnipotent, could create life in different ways. For instance, Paul Draper has argued that the fact that life evolved on earth supports naturalism over theism. However, for there to be a probabilistic tension between naturalism and theism, because of the fact of evolution, a certain background assumption must be true, namely, that God could have made biological organisms and species through an act of Genesis-style special (...)
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  • Ecological laws of perceiving and acting: In reply to Fodor and Pylyshyn.Michael T. Turvey, R. E. Shaw, Edward S. Reed & William M. Mace - 1981 - Cognition 9 (3):237-304.
  • The metaphysical equivalence between 3D and 4D theories of species.Vanessa Triviño & María Cerezo - 2015 - Revista Portuguesa de Filosofia 71 (4):781-806.
    Resumo Neste artigo, vamos considerar o recente debate na metafísica da evolução, no que diz respeito tanto à persistência como à “mudança” em espécies biológicas, segundo a tese que considera a espécie como o agregado de indivíduos. Centrar-nos-emos na proposta de Thomas Reydon, que argumenta que em biologia, o termo “espécie” refere-se a duas entidades biológicas, por si denominadas evolverons e phylons, que desempenham vários papéis epistemológicos em pelo menos duas disciplinas diferentes, nomeadamente na biologia sistemática e na biologia evolutiva. (...)
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  • Towards a characterization of metaphysics of biology: metaphysics for and metaphysics in biology.Vanesa Triviño - 2022 - Synthese 200 (5):1-21.
    Since the last decades of the twentieth and the beginning of the twenty-first century, the use of metaphysics by philosophers when approaching conceptual problems in biology has increased. Some philosophers call this tendency in philosophy of biology ‘Metaphysics of Biology’. In this paper, I aim at characterizing Metaphysics of Biology by paying attention to the diverse ways philosophers use metaphysics when addressing conceptual problems in biology. I will claim that there are two different modes of doing Metaphysics of Biology, namely (...)
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  • On the nature of the species problem and the four meanings of 'species'.Thomas A. C. Reydon - 2005 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 36 (1):135-158.
    Present-day thought on the notion of species is troubled by a mistaken understanding of the nature of the issue: while the species problem is commonly understood as concerning the epistemology and ontology of one single scientific concept, I argue that in fact there are multiple distinct concepts at stake. An approach to the species problem is presented that interprets the term ‘species’ as the placeholder for four distinct scientific concepts, each having its own role in biological theory, and an explanation (...)
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  • The Current Status of the Philosophy of Biology.Peter Takacs & Michael Ruse - 2013 - Science & Education 22 (1):5-48.
  • 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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  • Individuating population lineages: a new genealogical criterion.Beckett Sterner - 2017 - Biology and Philosophy 32 (5):683-703.
    Contemporary biology has inherited two key assumptions from the Modern Synthesis about the nature of population lineages: sexual reproduction is the exemplar for how individuals in population lineages inherit traits from their parents, and random mating is the exemplar for reproductive interaction. While these assumptions have been extremely fruitful for a number of fields, such as population genetics and phylogenetics, they are increasingly unviable for studying the full diversity and evolution of life. I introduce the “mixture” account of population lineages (...)
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  • Coordinating dissent as an alternative to consensus classification: insights from systematics for bio-ontologies.Beckett Sterner, Joeri Witteveen & Nico Franz - 2020 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 42 (1):1-25.
    The collection and classification of data into meaningful categories is a key step in the process of knowledge making. In the life sciences, the design of data discovery and integration tools has relied on the premise that a formal classificatory system for expressing a body of data should be grounded in consensus definitions for classifications. On this approach, exemplified by the realist program of the Open Biomedical Ontologies Foundry, progress is maximized by grounding the representation and aggregation of data on (...)
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  • Conceptualizing communities as natural entities: a philosophical argument with basic and applied implications.David A. Steen, Kyle Barrett, Ellen Clarke & Craig Guyer - 2017 - Biology and Philosophy 32 (6):1019-1034.
    Recent work has suggested that conservation efforts such as restoration ecology and invasive species eradication are largely value-driven pursuits. Concurrently, changes to global climate are forcing ecologists to consider if and how collections of species will migrate, and whether or not we should be assisting such movements. Herein, we propose a philosophical framework which addresses these issues by utilizing ecological and evolutionary interrelationships to delineate individual ecological communities. Specifically, our Evolutionary Community Concept recognizes unique collections of species that interact and (...)
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  • A Bundle Definition of Scientific Understanding and its Application to Quantum Physics.Vera Spillner - 2009 - Philosophia Naturalis 46 (2):279-305.
  • Review: Ernst Mayr on the History of Biology. [REVIEW]Phillip R. Sloan - 1985 - Journal of the History of Biology 18 (1):145 - 153.
  • A pragmatic approach to the possibility of de-extinction.Matthew H. Slater & Hayley Clatterbuck - 2018 - Biology and Philosophy 33 (1-2):4.
    A number of influential biologists are currently pursuing efforts to restore previously extinct species. But for decades, philosophers of biology have regarded “de-extinction” as conceptually incoherent. Once a species is gone, it is gone forever. We argue that a range of metaphysical, biological, and ethical grounds for opposing de-extinction are at best inconclusive and that a pragmatic stance that allows for its possibility is more appealing.
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  • Vague Kinds and Biological Nominalism.Peter Simons - 2013 - Metaphysica 14 (2):275-282.
    Among biological kinds, the most important are species. But species, however defined, have vague boundaries, both synchronically owing to hybridization and ongoing speciation, and diachronically owing to genetic drift and genealogical continuity despite speciation. It is argued that the solution to the problems of species and their vague boundaries is to adopt a thoroughgoing nominalism in regard to all biological taxa, from species to domains. The base entities are individual organisms: populations of these compose species and higher taxa. This accommodates (...)
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  • Paleontology at the “high table”? Popularization and disciplinary status in recent paleontology.David Sepkoski - 2014 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 45 (1):133-138.
    This paper examines the way in which paleontologists used “popular books” to call for a broader “expanded synthesis” of evolutionary biology. Beginning in the 1970s, a group of influential paleontologists, including Stephen Jay Gould, Niles Eldredge, David Raup, Steven Stanley, and others, aggressively promoted a new theoretical, evolutionary approach to the fossil record as an important revision of the existing synthetic view of Darwinism. This work had a transformative effect within the discipline of paleontology. However, by the 1980s, paleontologists began (...)
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  • Why the Debate about the Metaphysics of Biological Species Should Not Be Deflated.Giulio Sciacca - 2020 - History of Philosophy & Logical Analysis 23 (2):474-497.
    Some philosophers of biology state that the metaphysical status of biological species is context determined by the use different branches of biology make of their corresponding proper names, so that one and the same biological species can be both an individual and a natural kind. In this paper, I aim to undermine the idea, often associated with the present thesis, according to which the debate about the metaphysical status of biological species should be deflated, since it would be possible to (...)
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  • On Chemical Natural Kinds.Eric R. Scerri - 2020 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 51 (3):427-445.
    A critique of LaPorte's views on chemical kinds, like jade and ruby, is presented. More positively, a new slant is provided on the question of whether elements are natural kinds. This is carried out by appeal to the dual nature of elements, a topic that has been debated in the philosophy of chemistry but not in the natural kinds literature. It is claimed that the abstract notion of elements, as opposed to their being simple substances, is relevant to the Kripke–Putnam (...)
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  • On the Moral Considerability of Homo sapiens and Other Species.Ronald Sandler & Judith Crane - 2006 - Environmental Values 15 (1):69 - 84.
    It is sometimes claimed that as members of the species Homo sapiens we have a responsibility to promote the good of Homo sapiens itself (distinct from the good of its individual members). Lawrence Johnson has recently defended this claim as part of his approach to resolving the problem of future generations. We show that there are several difficulties with Johnson's argument, many of which are likely to attend any attempt to establish the moral considerability of Homo sapiens or species generally. (...)
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  • Whose purposes? Biological teleology and intentionality.Javier González de Prado Salas - 2018 - Synthese 195 (10):4507-4524.
    Teleosemantic theories aspire to develop a naturalistic account of intentional agency and thought by appeal to biological teleology. In particular, most versions of teleosemantics study the emergence of intentionality in terms of biological purposes introduced by Darwinian evolution. The aim of this paper is to argue that the sorts of biological purposes identified by these evolutionary approaches do not allow for a satisfactory account of intentionality. More precisely, I claim that such biological purposes should be attributed to reproductive chains or (...)
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  • Current Perspectives in Philosophy of Biology.Joaquin Suarez Ruiz & Rodrigo A. Lopez Orellana - 2019 - Humanities Journal of Valparaiso 14:7-426.
    Current Perspectives in Philosophy of Biology.
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  • David Hull: A memoir.Michael Ruse - 2010 - Biology and Philosophy 25 (5):739-747.
    David Hull: a memoir Content Type Journal Article DOI 10.1007/s10539-010-9236-0 Authors Michael Ruse, Department of Philosophy, Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL 32306, USA Journal Biology and Philosophy Online ISSN 1572-8404 Print ISSN 0169-3867.
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  • The series, the network, and the tree: changing metaphors of order in nature.Olivier Rieppel - 2010 - Biology and Philosophy 25 (4):475-496.
    The history of biological systematics documents a continuing tension between classifications in terms of nested hierarchies congruent with branching diagrams (the ‘Tree of Life’) versus reticulated relations. The recognition of conflicting character distribution led to the dissolution of the scala naturae into reticulated systems, which were then transformed into phylogenetic trees by the addition of a vertical axis. The cladistic revolution in systematics resulted in a representation of phylogeny as a strictly bifurcating pattern (cladogram). Due to the ubiquity of character (...)
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  • Species as a process.Olivier Rieppel - 2008 - Acta Biotheoretica (1-2):33-49.
    Species are generally considered to be the basic units of evolution, and hence to constitute spatio-temporally bounded entities. In addition, it has been argued that species also instantiate a natural kind. Evolution is fundamentally about change. The question then is how species can remain the same through evolutionary change. Proponents of the species qua individuals thesis individuate species through their unique evolutionary origin. Individuals, or spatio-temporally located particulars in general, can be bodies, objects, events, or processes, or a combination of (...)
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  • Louis agassiz (1807–1873) and the reality of natural groups.Olivier Rieppel - 1988 - Biology and Philosophy 3 (1):29-47.
    The philosophy of pattern cladism has been variously explained by reference to the work of Louis Agassiz. The present study analyzes Agassiz's attempt to combine an empirical approach to the study of nature with an idealistic philosophy. From this emerges the problem of empiricism and of the isomorphy between the order of nature and human thinking. The analysis of the writings of Louis Agassiz serves as the basis for discussion of the reality of natural groups as postulated by pattern cladists.
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  • Biological Individuals and Natural Kinds.Olivier Rieppel - 2013 - Biological Theory 7 (2):162-169.
    This paper takes a hierarchical approach to the question whether species are individuals or natural kinds. The thesis defended here is that species are spatiotemporally located complex wholes (individuals), that are composed of (i.e., include) causally interdependent parts, which collectively also instantiate a homeostatic property cluster (HPC) natural kind. Species may form open or closed genetic systems that are dynamic in nature, that have fuzzy boundaries due to the processual nature of speciation, that may have leaky boundaries as is manifest (...)
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  • Why does the species problem still persist?Thomas A. C. Reydon - 2004 - Bioessays 26 (3):300-305.
    Despite many years of discussion, the species problem has still not been adequately resolved. Why is this the case? Here I discuss two recent suggested answers to this question that place the blame on the species problem's empirical aspects or on its philosophical aspects. In contrast, I argue that neither of these two faces of the species problem constitute the principal cause of the species problem's persistence. Rather, they are merely symptoms of the real cause: the species problem has not (...)
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  • Why organizational ecology is not a Darwinian research program.Thomas A. C. Reydon & Markus Scholz - 2009 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 39 (3):408-439.
    Organizational ecology is commonly seen as a Darwinian research program that seeks to explain the diversity of organizational structures, properties and behaviors as the product of selection in past social environments in a similar manner as evolutionary biology seeks to explain the forms, properties and behaviors of organisms as consequences of selection in past natural environments. We argue that this explanatory strategy does not succeed because organizational ecology theory lacks an evolutionary mechanism that could be identified as the principal cause (...)
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  • Species in three and four dimensions.Thomas A. C. Reydon - 2008 - Synthese 164 (2):161-184.
    There is an interesting parallel between two debates in different domains of contemporary analytic philosophy. One is the endurantism– perdurantism, or three-dimensionalism vs. four-dimensionalism, debate in analytic metaphysics. The other is the debate on the species problem in philosophy of biology. In this paper I attempt to cross-fertilize these debates with the aim of exploiting some of the potential that the two debates have to advance each other. I address two issues. First, I explore what the case of species implies (...)
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  • Species as Gene Flow Communities: Werner Kunz: Do Species Exist? Principles of Taxonomic Classification (Weinheim: Wiley-Blackwell, 2012; ISBN 978-3-527-33207-6, xxxiii + 245 pp, €79.90). [REVIEW]Thomas A. C. Reydon - 2013 - Acta Biotheoretica 61 (4):525-534.
  • On the nature of the species problem and the four meanings of ‘species’.Thomas A. C. Reydon - 2005 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 36 (1):135-158.
  • On radical solutions in the philosophy of biology: What does “individuals thinking” actually solve?Thomas A. C. Reydon - 2019 - Synthese 198 (4):3389-3411.
    The philosophy of biology is witnessing an increasing enthusiasm for what can be called “individuals thinking”. Individuals thinking is a perspective on the metaphysics of biological entities according to which conceiving of them as individuals rather than kinds enables us to expose ongoing metaphysical debates as focusing on the wrong question, and to achieve better accounts of the metaphysics of biological entities. In this paper, I examine two cases of individuals thinking, the claim that species are individuals and the claim (...)
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  • Gene names as proper names of individuals: An assessment.Thomas A. C. Reydon - 2009 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 60 (2):409-432.
    According to a recent suggestion, the names of gene taxa should be conceived of as referring to individuals with concrete genes as their parts, just as the names of biological species are often understood as denoting individuals with organisms as their parts. Although prima facie this suggestion might advance the debate on gene concepts in a similar way as the species-are-individuals thesis advanced the debate on species concepts, I argue that the principal arguments in support of the gene-individuality thesis are (...)
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