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What's Wrong with the New Biological Essentialism
Philosophy of Science
Vol. 77, No. 5 (December 2010), pp. 674-685
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/656545
Page Count: 12
You can always find the topics here!Topics: Taxa, Essentialism, Species, Biological taxonomies, Zebras, Intrinsic properties, Stripes, Biology, Extinct species, Hybridity
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The received view in the philosophy of biology is that biological taxa (species and higher taxa) do not have essences. Recently, some philosophers (Boyd, Devitt, Griffiths, LaPorte, Okasha, and Wilson) have suggested new forms of biological essentialism. They argue that according to these new forms of essentialism, biological taxa do have essences. This article critically evaluates the new biological essentialism. This article's thesis is that the costs of adopting the new biological essentialism are many, yet the benefits are none, so there is no compelling reason to resurrect essentialism concerning biological taxa.
Copyright 2010 by the Philosophy of Science Association. All rights reserved.