Species are Processes: A Solution to the 'Species Problem' via an Extension of Ulanowicz's Ecological Metaphysics [Book Review]
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jonathan Jenkins Ichikawa
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Axiomathes 22 (2):231-260 (2012)
Abstract The ‘species problem’ in the philosophy of biology concerns the nature of species. Various solutions have been proposed, including arguments that species are sets, classes, natural kinds, individuals, and homeostatic property clusters. These proposals parallel debates in ecology as to the ontology and metaphysics of populations, communities and ecosystems. A new solution—that species are processes—is proposed and defended, based on Robert Ulanowicz’s metaphysics of process ecology. As with ecological systems, species can be understood as emergent, autocatalytic systems with propensities for centripetality and mutuality in the course of dynamically balancing ascendency (order and persistence) and overhead (randomness and change). The species-as-processes perspective accords with the Ulanowicz’s postulates of process ecology and it can be accommodated by existing theories of species—particularly in a reframing of Richard Boyd’s metaphysics such that species are homeostatic process clusters. Rather than contending that process-based metaphysics is the only, best or true account of species, a pluralist-realist approach is advocated based on the pragmatic principles that are reflected in modern view of species and ecology. If species are understood to be comprised of processes and to be emergent processes themselves, there are important implications for the life sciences, including: animal models in medical and environmental studies, conservation biology, extinction, biodiversity, restoration ecology, and evolutionary biology. Content Type Journal Article Category Invited Paper Pages 1-30 DOI 10.1007/s10516-011-9169-5 Authors Jeffrey A. Lockwood, Department of Philosophy, University of Wyoming, Laramie, WY 82071, USA Journal Axiomathes Online ISSN 1572-8390 Print ISSN 1122-1151
|Keywords||Species problem Process philosophy Autocatalysis Centripetality Mutuality Ascendency Overhead Propensity Homeostatic property clusters|
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W. V. Quine (1969). Ontological Relativity and Other Essays. Columbia University Press.
Elliott Sober (2000). Philosophy of Biology. Westview Press.
Willard van Orman Quine (1996). Ontological Relativity and Other Essays. Columbia University Press.
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