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Journal Article

Deep Conventionalism about Evolutionary Groups

Matthew J. Barker and Joel D. Velasco
Philosophy of Science
Vol. 80, No. 5 (December 2013), pp. 971-982
DOI: 10.1086/673923
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/673923
Page Count: 12
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Deep Conventionalism about Evolutionary Groups
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Abstract

We reject a widespread objectivism about kinds of evolutionary groups in favor of a new conventionalism. Surprisingly, being any one kind of evolutionary group typically depends on which of many incompatible values are taken by suppressed variables. This novel pluralism underlies almost any single evolutionary group concept, unlike familiar pluralisms claiming that multiple concepts of certain sorts are legitimate. Consequently, we must help objective facts determine which candidate evolutionary groups satisfy the definition of a given evolutionary group concept, regardless of whether we also help determine the legitimacy of that concept’s applications.

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