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Promiscuous Realism

Robert A. Wilson
The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science
Vol. 47, No. 2 (Jun., 1996), pp. 303-316
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/687950
Page Count: 14
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Promiscuous Realism
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Abstract

This paper is a critical discussion of John Dupré's recent defence of promiscuous realism in Part 1 of his The Disorder of Things: Metaphysical Foundations of the Disunity of Science. It also discusses some more general issues in the philosophy of biology and science. Dupré's chief strategy of argumentation appeals to debates within the philosophy of biology, all of which concern the nature of species. While the strategy is well motivated, I argue that Dupré's challenge to essentialist and unificationist views about natural kinds is not successful. One conclusion is that an integrative conception of species is a real alternative to Dupré's pluralism.

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