‘Total evidence’ in phylogenetic systematics

Biology and Philosophy 24 (5):607-622 (2009)

Authors
Abstract
Taking its clues from Popperian philosophy of science, cladistics adopted a number of assumptions of the empiricist tradition. These include the identification of a dichotomy between observation reports and theoretical statements and its subsequent abandonment on the basis of the insight that all observation reports are theory-laden. The neglect of the ‘context of discovery’, which is the step of theory (hypothesis) generation. The emphasis on coherentism in the ‘context of justification’, which is the step of evaluation of the relative merits of alternative theories. The appeal to a total evidence approach in phylogenetic inference. And finally, a silence about causation, which results in an instrumentalist approach to phylogeny reconstruction. This paper explores how these empiricist assumptions are embedded in phylogenetic systematics, and why these assumptions are problematic for cladists (or any taxonomists).
Keywords Philosophy   Evolutionary Biology   Philosophy of Biology
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/s10539-008-9122-1
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

Our Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 47,182
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Inference to the Best Explanation.Peter Lipton - 1993 - Routledge/Taylor and Francis Group.
Logical Foundations of Probability.Rudolf Carnap - 1950 - Chicago]University of Chicago Press.
Causality and Explanation.Wesley C. Salmon - 1997 - Oxford University Press.
Philosophy of Natural Science.Carl G. Hempel - 1966 - Englewood Cliffs, N.J., Prentice-Hall.

View all 20 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Outline of an Explanatory Account of Cladistic Practice.Nico M. Franz - 2005 - Biology and Philosophy 20 (2-3):489-515.
The Poverty of Taxonomic Characters.Olivier Rieppel & Maureen Kearney - 2007 - Biology and Philosophy 22 (1):95-113.
Phylogeny as Population History.Joel D. Velasco - 2013 - Philosophy, Theory, and Practice in Biology 5:e402.
Character Individuation in Phylogenetic Inference.Richard Richards - 2003 - Philosophy of Science 70 (2):264-279.
Conditionalizing on Knowledge.Timothy Williamson - 1998 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 49 (1):89-121.
Constraining Prior Probabilities of Phylogenetic Trees.Bengt Autzen - 2011 - Biology and Philosophy 26 (4):567-581.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2009-01-28

Total views
83 ( #106,630 of 2,289,505 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
6 ( #185,800 of 2,289,505 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes

Sign in to use this feature