Species as individuals

Biology and Philosophy 19 (2):223-242 (2004)
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Abstract

There is no question that the constituents of cells and organisms are joined together by the part-whole relation. Genes are part of cells, and cells are part of organisms. Species taxa, however, have traditionally been conceived of, not as wholes with parts, but as classes with members. But why does the relation change abruptly from part-whole to class-membership above the level of organisms? Ghiselin, Hull and others have argued that it doesn't. Cells and organisms are cohesive mereological sums, and since species taxa are like cells and organisms in the relevant respects, they, too, are cohesive mereological sums. I provide further reasons in support of the thesis that species are mereological sums. I argue, moreover, that the advocate of this thesis is committed to a form of pluralism with respect to the species concept.

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Berit Brogaard
University of Miami

Citations of this work

Composition.Daniel Z. Korman & Chad Carmichael - 2016 - Oxford Handbooks Online.
Why Composition Matters.Andrew M. Bailey & Andrew Brenner - 2020 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 50 (8):934-949.

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References found in this work

The meaning of 'meaning'.Hilary Putnam - 1975 - Minnesota Studies in the Philosophy of Science 7:131-193.
Parts: a study in ontology.Peter M. Simons - 1987 - New York: Oxford University Press.
Parts of Classes.David K. Lewis - 1991 - Mind 100 (3):394-397.

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