The Species Problem

The Species Problem : Biological Species, Ontology, and the Metaphysics of Biology

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In this provocative work, David N. Stamos tackles the problem of determining exactly what a biological species is: in short, whether species are real and the nature of their reality. Although many have written on this topic, The Species Problem is the only comprehensive single-authored book on this central concern of biology. Stamos critically considers the evolution of the three major contemporary views of species: species nominalism, species as classes, and species as individuals. Finally, he develops his own solution to the species problem, a solution aimed at providing a universal species concept worthy of the Modern Synthesis. This book will be of interest to philosophers of biology and of science in general, to historians of biology, and to biologists concerned with one of the most significant (and practical) conceptual issues in their field.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 390 pages
  • 152.4 x 228.6 x 35.6mm | 476.28g
  • Lanham, MD, United States
  • English
  • New
  • 0739105035
  • 9780739105030

Table of contents

Part 1 Introduction Chapter 2 The Species Problem and the Problem of Universals Chapter 3 Ontology and Criteria of Reality Chapter 4 Preliminary Assumptions and Concepts Chapter 5 Abstract of the Book Part 6 Species Nominalism Chapter 7 Preliminary Considerations Chapter 8 Occam and Locke Chapter 9 Buffon, Lamarck, and Darwin Chapter 10 Modern Nominalists in Biology Part 11 Species as Classes Chapter 12 Plato, Aristotle, and Linnaeus Chapter 13 Species as Elementary Classes Chapter 14 Species as Cluster Classes Chapter 15 Species as Ecological Niches Chapter 16 Problems with Species as Classes Part 17 Species as Individuals Chapter 18 Precursors from Hegel to Mayr Chapter 19 Ghiselin, Hull, et al. Chapter 20 Punctuated Equilibria Chapter 21 Problems with Species as Individuals Chapter 22 Species as Sets, Clades, and Lineages Part 23 Species as Relations Chapter 24 The Origin of an Idea Chapter 25 Species as Biosimilarity Complexes Chapter 26 Problems with Species as Relations Chapter 27 Concluding Remarks
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Review quote

Stamos provides a thorough introduction to the debate over the ontological status of species. He offers the innovative suggestion that species are neither classes nor individuals, but relations. Stamos's approach is a fresh alternative to the standard, well-worn positions. -- Marc Ereshefsky, University of Calgary This is an important book on an important topic. David Stamos deals with one of the hardest issues in the philosophy of biology, the 'species problem,' showing philosophical sensitivity and scientific understanding. It will be essential reading for all further work on the topic, and is a real joy to read in its own right. -- Michael Ruse, Lucyle T. Werkmeister Professor of Philosophy, Florida State University ...I recommend this book as a handy reference for a wide range of views on the species question... -- Bryson Brown, University of Lethbridge Stamos' study deserves high praise. It is the most comprehensive survey of the literature on the question of "species" - how to define the term, how to classify it among other biological terms, how it was historically used and misused, how it relates to other questions of ontology (what there is) and epistemology (what do we know and how we get to know it), and how it is bound with serious philosophical questions about Universals (do they exist?, are they nothing but a collection of Individuals?) and Essentialism (does something have certain characteristics that are essential or secondary to its very nature and existence?), to name just two categories. The book is well organized, clearly written, broadly researched, and meticulously such, this book should become a standard reference to anyone interested in biology form theoretical and practical perspectives alike. Bridges Stamos has brought together in one substantial volume almost everything one would ever want to know about how biologists and philosophers of biology have understood the word 'species.' More than that, he has shown what makes understanding this word crucial for biological explanation and scientific ontology. His book honors the close connection between analytical metaphysics and biological theorizing. -- Alex Rosenberg, Duke University
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About David N. Stamos

David Stamos teaches Philosophy at York University in Toronto.
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