“Population” Is Not a Natural Kind of Kinds

Biological Theory 5 (2):154-160 (2010)
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Abstract

Millstein (2009) argues against conceptual pluralism with respect to the definition of “population,” and proposes her own definition of the term. I challenge both Millstein's negative arguments against conceptual pluralism and her positive proposal for a singular definition of population. The concept of population, I argue, does not refer to a natural kind; populations are constructs of biologists variably defined by contexts of inquiry.

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Jacob Stegenga
Cambridge University

Citations of this work

The mind, the lab, and the field: Three kinds of populations in scientific practice.Rasmus Grønfeldt Winther, Ryan Giordano, Michael D. Edge & Rasmus Nielsen - 2015 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 52:12-21.
Searching for Darwinism in Generalized Darwinism.Thomas A. C. Reydon & Markus Scholz - 2015 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 66 (3):561-589.

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References found in this work

Natural kinds and biological taxa.John Dupre - 1981 - Philosophical Review 90 (1):66-90.
Natural selection as a population-level causal process.Roberta L. Millstein - 2006 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 57 (4):627-653.
Natural Kinds and Biological Taxa.John Dupre - 1981 - The Philosophical Review 90 (1):66-90.

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