Definitions of Species in Biology

  title={Definitions of Species in Biology},
  author={Michael Ruse},
  journal={The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science},
  pages={97 - 119}
  • M. Ruse
  • Published 1 August 1969
  • Environmental Science
  • The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science
One of the major problems confronting biologists is that of classifying organisms. This is usually done in a hierarchical manner. First, organisms are grouped together into classes (called 'taxa' by biologists) which are assumed to be incapable of significant subdivision; then, these classes are in turn grouped so that the members of a number of classes at the lowest level also form a class at the next higher level. This process is repeated until, at the highest level, all organisms are grouped… 
A Radical Solution to the Species Problem
Hull (1974) has lately endorsed the idea that, from the point of view of evolutionary theory, biological species and monophyletic taxa are individuals, and Mayr (1969a), while not going so far, strongly emphasizes the point that species are more than just nominal classes.
An Integrated Biological Approach to the Species Problem*
  • E. F. Giray
  • Environmental Science
    The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science
  • 1976
There has been much dispute in the recent literature regarding whether species are a 'real' and 'natural' unit of classification. Criticisms by taxonomists who claim that species are not real have
The debate about the biological species concept ‐ a review
This paper summarizes the recent literature in relation to the ‘biological species concept’ (MAYR 1942) and concludes that the biological species concept needs not be changed or dismissed on the basis of the discussed criticisms.
The Principles of Biological Classification: The Use and Abuse of Philosophy
  • D. Hull
  • Geology
    PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association
  • 1978
In recent years two groups of taxonomists have attempted to influence the general goals and methods of biological classification. The first group, which emerged in the late 1950's, has been called
Species and Identity
The purpose of this paper is to test the contemporary concept of biological species against some of the problems caused by treating species as spatiotemporally extended entities governed by criteria
Species as family resemblance concepts: the (dis-)solution of the species problem?
  • M. Pigliucci
  • Philosophy
    BioEssays : news and reviews in molecular, cellular and developmental biology
  • 2003
The main themes of the biological and philosophical literatures on the species problem are examined, focusing on identifying common threads as well as relevant differences, and Wittgenstein's idea of "family resemblance" or cluster concepts are considered.
Integrative Taxonomy of Birds: The Nature and Delimitation of Species
This chapter examines how and why avian taxonomy has become integrative, how species hypotheses are documented and falsified, and how the growth of taxonomic knowledge provides new and valuable insights into the speciation process, biogeography, and conservation biology.
Concept of Rare and Endangered Species and Its Impact as Biodiversity
An endangered species is a population of organisms which is at risk of becoming extinct because it is either few in numbers, or threatened by changing environmental or predation parameters. The first


Are Biological Species Real?
  • H. Lehman
  • Environmental Science
    Philosophy of Science
  • 1967
It is held that to ask if a species is real is to ask whether the species grouping arrived at by applying the principles involved in the species concept corresponds with groups of organisms amongst which important biological relationships exist.
  • D. Hull
  • Biology
    The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science
  • 1965
The development of thought since Aristotle could be summed up by saying that every discipline as long as it used the Aristotelian method of definition has remained arrested in a state of empty verbiage and barren scholasticism.
John is a succession of conformations of matter in time, and any meaningful study of him will have to consider the four-dimensional J ohno+1 +2 +3+4 + ••• ".
Word and Object
This edition offers a new preface by Quine's student and colleague Dagfinn Follesdal that describes the never-realized plans for a second edition of Word and Object, in which Quine would offer a more unified treatment of the public nature of meaning, modalities, and propositional attitudes.
Experience and Theory: An Essay in the Philosophy of Science
* Schemata of Empirical Differentiation. 2 Empirical Classes and Individuals. 3 Logic and Inexactness. 4 Empirical Continuity, Perceptual and Empirical . Predicates. 5 Empirical Generality. 6
On the Epistemology of the Inexact Sciences
This is a new epistemological approach to the inexact sciences. The purpose of all science is to explain and predict in an objective manner. While in the exact sciences explanation and prediction
Experimental Error and Deducibility
The view is advocated that to preserve a deductivist account of science against recent criticism, it is necessary to incorporate experimental error, or imprecision, in the deductive structure. The
Method in the physical sciences
Introduction. 1. The Principle of Simplicity. 2 The Principle of Micro-Reduction. 3 The Principle of Connectivity. 4 The Principle of Verification
Philosophy and scientific realism
* The Province of Philosophy. 2 Physical Objects and Physical Theories. 3 Physics and Biology. 4 The Secondary Qualities. 5 Consciousness. 6 Man as a Physical Mechanism. 7 The Space-Time World. 8 Man