Chicken, eggs, and speciation

Noûs 43 (1):94-115 (2009)

Authors
Mohan Matthen
University of Toronto at Mississauga
Abstract
Standard biological and philosophical treatments assume that dramatic genotypic or phenotypic change constitutes instantaneous speciation, and that barring such saltation, speciation is gradual evolutionary change in individual properties. Both propositions appear to be incongruent with standard theoretical perspectives on species themselves, since these perspectives are (a) non-pheneticist, and (b) tend to disregard intermediate cases. After reviewing certain key elements of such perspectives, it is proposed that species-membership is mediated by membership in a population. Species-membership depends, therefore, not on intrinsic characteristics of an organism, but on relationship of an organism to others. A new definition of speciation is proposed in the spirit of this proposal. This definition implies that dramatic change is neither necessary nor sufficient for speciation. It also implies, surprisingly, that an organism can change species during its lifetime.
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DOI 10.1111/j.1468-0068.2008.01697.x
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References found in this work BETA

Resurrecting Biological Essentialism.Michael Devitt - 2008 - Philosophy of Science 75 (3):344-382.
Historical Kinds and the "Special Sciences".Ruth Garrett Millikan - 1999 - Philosophical Studies 95 (1-2):45-65.
Kinds, Complexity, and Multiple Realization.Robert Boyd - 1999 - Philosophical Studies 95 (1-2):67-98.
Kinds, Complexity and Multiple Realization.Richard Boyd - 1999 - Philosophical Studies 95 (1):67-98.

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Citations of this work BETA

The Metaphysics of Natural Kinds.Alexander Bird - 2015 - Synthese 195 (4):1397-1426.
Pheneticism Reconsidered.Tim Lewens - 2012 - Biology and Philosophy 27 (2):159-177.

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