Species, Variability, and Integration

Makmiller Pedroso


According to the essentialist view, a biological species is a group of organisms that
instantiates some intrinsic property not shared by the members of other species.
However, this account is at odds with contemporary biology. Species exhibit a huge
array of intra-specific variability whereas members of different species may be alike
in terms of phenotypic and genotypic traits. Boyd (1991; 1999) proposes an account of
species that intends to overcome these shortcomings of essentialism. The present
paper has two goals. I first present the reasons why essentialism about species is in
conflict with contemporary biology. Based on these reasons, I propose an argument
against the view that Boyd’s account of species is a satisfactory alternative to


philosophy; 20th century philosophy; natural kind; biological species; HPC theory; essentialism; explanation

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