On the nature of the species problem and the four meanings of 'species'


Authors
Thomas A. C. Reydon
Universität Hannover
Abstract
Present-day thought on the notion of species is troubled by a mistaken understanding of the nature of the issue: while the species problem is commonly understood as concerning the epistemology and ontology of one single scientific concept, I argue that in fact there are multiple distinct concepts at stake. An approach to the species problem is presented that interprets the term ‘species’ as the placeholder for four distinct scientific concepts, each having its own role in biological theory, and an explanation is given of the concepts involved. To illustrate how these concepts are commonly conflated, two widely accepted ideas on species are criticized: species individualism and species pluralism. I argue that by failing to distinguish between the four concepts and their particular roles in contemporary biological theory, these ideas stand in the way of a final resolution of the species problem
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DOI 10.1016/j.shpsc.2004.12.004
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References found in this work BETA

A Matter of Individuality.David L. Hull - 1978 - Philosophy of Science 45 (3):335-360.
Species.Philip Kitcher - 1984 - Philosophy of Science 51 (2):308-333.
Individuality and Selection.David L. Hull - 1980 - Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics 11:311-332.

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Citations of this work BETA

Bacterial Species Pluralism in the Light of Medicine and Endosymbiosis.Javier Suárez - 2016 - Theoria: Revista de Teoría, Historia y Fundamentos de la Ciencia 31 (1):91-105.
Species in Three and Four Dimensions.Thomas Reydon - 2008 - Synthese 164 (2):161-184.
Generalizations and Kinds in Natural Science: The Case of Species.Thomas A. C. Reydon - 2006 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 37 (2):230-255.

View all 10 citations / Add more citations

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