Non-essentialist methods in pre-Darwinian taxonomy

@article{Winsor2003NonessentialistMI,
  title={Non-essentialist methods in pre-Darwinian taxonomy},
  author={Mary P Winsor},
  journal={Biology and Philosophy},
  year={2003},
  volume={18},
  pages={387-400}
}
  • M. Winsor
  • Published 1 June 2003
  • Philosophy
  • Biology and Philosophy
The current widespread belief that taxonomic methods used before Darwin were essentialist is ill-founded. The essentialist method developed by followers of Plato and Aristotle required definitions to state properties that are always present. Polythetic groups do not obey that requirement, whatever may have been the ontological beliefs of the taxonomist recognizing such groups. Two distinct methods of forming higher taxa, by chaining and by examplar, were widely used in the period between… 
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ion from the environment Another specificity of early modern taxonomies, linked to the lack of communal experience, is the progressive abstraction of the environment. Traditionally, animals and
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