A commentary on Ridley's cladistic solution to the species problem

Biology and Philosophy 5 (4):433-446 (1990)
The cladistic species concept proposed by Ridley (1989) rests on an undefined notion of speciation and its meaning is thus indeterminate. If the cladistic concept is made determinate through the definition of speciation, then it reduces to a form of whatever species concept is implicit in the definition of speciation and fails to be a truly alternative species concept. The cladistic formalism advocated by Ridley is designed to ensure that species are monophyletic, that they are objectively real entities, and that they are individuals. It is argued that species need not be monophyletic in order to be real entities, and that ancestor-descendant relations are not the only relations that confer individuality on entities. The species problem is recast in terms of a futile quest for a definition of that single kind of entity to which the term species should uniquely apply.
Keywords Species  cladistics  monophyly
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DOI 10.1007/BF02207381
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Mark Ridley (1990). Comments on Wilkinson's Commentary. Biology and Philosophy 5 (4):447-450.

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