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A Radical Solution to the Species Problem

Michael T. Ghiselin
Systematic Zoology
Vol. 23, No. 4 (Dec., 1974), pp. 536-544
DOI: 10.2307/2412471
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2412471
Page Count: 9
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A Radical Solution to the Species Problem
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Abstract

Traditionally, species (like other taxa) have been treated as classes (universals). In fact they may be considered individuals (particular things). The logical term "individual" has been confused with a biological synonym for "organism." If species are individuals, then: 1) their names are proper, 2) there cannot be instances of them, 3) they do not have defining properties (intensions), 4) their constituent organisms are parts, not members. "Species" may be defined as the most extensive units in the natural economy such that reproductive competition occurs among their parts. Species are to evolutionary theory as firms are to economic theory: this analogy resolves many issues, such as the problems of "reality" and the ontological status of nomenclatorial types.

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