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Does the anti-essentialist consensus about species rest on a mistake?

Okasha, Samir (2023) Does the anti-essentialist consensus about species rest on a mistake? [Preprint]

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Abstract

A long-established consensus in the philosophy of biology holds that biological species are not natural kinds with intrinsic essences, despite what Putnam (1975) and Kripke (1980) thought. This anti-essentialist consensus has recently been challenged by Michael Devitt, who insists that it rests on a mistake. According to Devitt, philosophers of biology have failed to recognise the distinction between two quite different questions one can ask about species: the Category question and the Taxon question. The various “species concepts” found in the biological literature are attempts to answer the former but are silent about the latter, Devitt claims, so do not conflict with essentialism, pace what philosophers of biology believe. By carefully attending to the logical relation between the Category and Taxon questions, Devitt’s claim that the anti-essentialist consensus rests on a mistake is shown to be untenable.


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Item Type: Preprint
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Okasha, SamirSamir.Okasha@bristol.ac.uk
Keywords: species, essentialism, philosophy of biology, Devitt
Subjects: General Issues > Scientific Metaphysics
Specific Sciences > Biology
Specific Sciences > Biology > Evolutionary Theory
Specific Sciences > Biology > Systematics
General Issues > Natural Kinds
Depositing User: Dr Samir Okasha
Date Deposited: 03 Oct 2023 22:27
Last Modified: 03 Oct 2023 22:27
Item ID: 22615
Subjects: General Issues > Scientific Metaphysics
Specific Sciences > Biology
Specific Sciences > Biology > Evolutionary Theory
Specific Sciences > Biology > Systematics
General Issues > Natural Kinds
Date: October 2023
URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/22615

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