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What's Wrong with the New Biological Essentialism

Marc Ereshefsky
Philosophy of Science
Vol. 77, No. 5 (December 2010), pp. 674-685
DOI: 10.1086/656545
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/656545
Page Count: 12
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What's Wrong with the New Biological Essentialism
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Abstract

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.

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