Biological Theory 11 (3):01-12 (2016)

Celso Neto
Dalhousie University
According to the species-as-individuals thesis(hereafter S-A-I), species are cohesive entities. Barker and Wilson recently pointed out that the type of cohesion exhibited by species is fundamentally different from that of organisms (paradigmatic individuals), suggesting that species are homeostatic property cluster kinds. In this article, I propose a shift in how to approach cohesion in the context of S-A-I: instead of analyzing the different types of cohesion and questioning whether species have them, I focus on the role played by cohesion in the identity of individuals. This shift allows us to recognize why cohesion matters to S-A-I, as well as to reconceive the analogy between species and organisms (paradigmatic individuals), and also allows us to highlight the context sensitivity of both ‘‘cohesion’’ and ‘‘individuals.’’ From this perspective, I identify two problems in Barker and Wilson’s argumentation. Firstly, the authors fail to recognize that species are individuals even if they do not have the same type of cohesion that organisms have. Secondly, their argument relies on a misinterpretation of S-A-I. I conclude that species cohesion is still best framed as a feature of species individuality rather than a feature of species as homeostatic property cluster kinds. The arguments presented here contribute to the re-articulation and reevaluation of S-A-I in the face of contemporary discussions.
Keywords Cohesion  Species  Individuals  Natural Kinds  Organisms
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DOI 10.1007/s13752-016-0243-5
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References found in this work BETA

Animal Species and Evolution.Ernst Mayr - 1963 - Belknap of Harvard University Press.
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Citations of this work BETA

The Individuality Thesis (3 Ways).Matthew Haber - 2016 - Biology and Philosophy 31 (6):913-930.
Species in the Age of Discordance.Matthew H. Haber - 2019 - Philosophy, Theory, and Practice in Biology 11 (21).

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