New Essentialism in Biology

  title={New Essentialism in Biology},
  author={O. Rieppel},
  journal={Philosophy of Science},
  pages={662 - 673}
  • O. Rieppel
  • Published 2010
  • Sociology
  • Philosophy of Science
The architects of the modern synthesis banned essentialism from evolutionary theory. This rejection of essentialism was motivated by Darwin’s theory of natural selection, and the continuity of evolutionary transformation. Contemporary evolutionary biology witnesses a renaissance of essentialism in three contexts: “origin essentialism” with respect to species and supraspecific taxa, the bar coding of species on the basis of discontinuities of DNA variation between populations, and the search for… Expand
Essentialism About Kinds: An Undead Issue in the Philosophies of Physics and Biology?
The consensus among philosophers of biology is that traditional forms of essentialism have no place in accounts of biological kinds and classification. Recently, however, several authors haveExpand
Essentialism in Biology
The many meanings of the notion of essentialism in psychology and social science as well as science are outlined, and pro- and anti-essentialist views are discussed, and some recent historical revisionism is discussed. Expand
Species, Humans, and Transformations
Do biological species have essences? The debate over this question in philosophy of biology exhibits fundamental confusion both between and within authors. In What to Salvage from the SpeciesExpand
Cooking up the perfect insect: Aristotle's transformational idea about the complete metamorphosis of insects
  • S. Reynolds
  • Biology, Medicine
  • Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B
  • 2019
Aristotle's work underpins that of the major seventeenth century students of metamorphosis, Harvey, Redi, Malpighi and Swammerdam, all of whom make frequent reference to Aristotle in their writings. Expand
Multiplicity of Research Programs in the Biological Systematics: A Case for Scientific Pluralism
Biological diversity (BD) explored by biological systematics is a complex yet organized natural phenomenon and can be partitioned into several aspects, defined naturally with reference to variousExpand
Biosocial criminology and its discontents: a critical realist philosophical analysis
Biosocial criminology has been subjected to criticism from its beginning as ‘biological determinism’ and ‘positivist.’ Having lost that argument and being confronted with the ever-growing biosocialExpand
Grene and Hull on types and typological thinking in biology.
  • Phillip Honenberger
  • Medicine, Biology
  • Studies in history and philosophy of biological and biomedical sciences
  • 2015
Three debates between Grene and Hull are reviewed bearing on the question of the validity of so-called typological thinking in biology: a debate about the dispensability of concepts of "type" within evolutionary theory, paleontology, and taxonomy; a Debate about whether species can be adequately understood as individuals, and thereby independently of those forms of thinking Hull and Mayr had construed as "typological"; and a discussion about the prospects of a biologically informed theory of human nature. Expand
Natural Kinds in Philosophy and in the Life Sciences: Scholastic Twilight or New Dawn?
This article, which is intended both as a position paper in the philosophical debate on natural kinds and as the guest editorial to this thematic issue, takes up the challenge posed by Ian Hacking inExpand
Essential Properties Are Super-Explanatory: Taming Metaphysical Modality
Abstract This article aims to build a bridge between two areas of philosophical research: the structure of kinds and metaphysical modality. Our central thesis is that kinds typically involveExpand
The Hunting of the SNaRC: A Snarky Solution to the Species Problem
We argue that the logical outcome of the cladistics revolution in biological systematics, and the move towards rankless phylogenetic classification of nested monophyletic groups as formalized in theExpand


Systematics and the Darwinian Revolution
Taxonomies of living things and the methods used to produce them changed little with the institutionalization of evolutionary thinking in biology. Instead, the relationships expressed in existingExpand
Evolutionary Essentialism
  • D. Walsh
  • The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science
  • 2006
According to Aristotelian essentialism, the nature of an organism is constituted of a particular goal-directed disposition to produce an organism typical of its kind. This paper argues—against theExpand
Darwinian Metaphysics: Species And The Question Of Essentialism
  • S. Okasha
  • Philosophy, Computer Science
  • Synthese
  • 2004
It is suggested that Putnam's, Kripke's and Wiggins' errors stem from adopting an account of the point of scientific classification which implies that relationally-defined kinds are likely to be of little value, an account which is inapplicable to biology. Expand
The essentialism story, a narrative that has most pre-Darwinian biologists steeped in the world view of Plato and Aristotle, is ill-founded and improbable. Expand
The practice of classification and the theory of evolution, and what the demise of Charles Darwin's tree of life hypothesis means for both of them
  • W. Doolittle
  • Biology, Medicine
  • Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
  • 2009
It is argued that for Darwin the tree of life was a hypothesis, which lateral gene transfer in prokaryotes now shows to be false, and a more general and relaxed evolutionary theory is proposed. Expand
The current picture of the history of taxonomy incorporates A. J. Cain’s claim that Linnaeus strove to apply the logical method of definition taught by medieval followers of Aristotle. Cain’sExpand
In Major Kingston's account of his life the authors find a full appreciation of the value of his researches and a welcome reminder of the immensevalue of his philosophy in the promotion of science. Expand
The Shape of Life: Genes, Development, and the Evolution of Animal Form
In "The Shape of Life", Raff analyzes the rise of this experimental discipline and lays out research questions, hypotheses and approaches to guide its development. Expand
The illogical basis of phylogenetic nomenclature
The role of natural kinds in scientific practice and the nature of definitions and scientific classifications is reviewed, and current views on natural kinds and their definitions under a scientific realist perspective provide grounds for rejecting the class versus individual dichotomy altogether. Expand
  • 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. Expand