Darwin and the Nature of Species

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SUNY Press, 2007 M01 1 - 273 pages
Since the 1859 publication of On the Origin of Species, the concept of species in biology has been widely debated, with its precise definition far from settled. And yet, amazingly, there have been no books devoted to Charles Darwin s thinking on the term until now. David N. Stamos gives us a groundbreaking, historical reconstruction of Darwin s detailed, yet often misinterpreted, thoughts on this complex concept.

Stamos provides a thorough and detailed analysis of Darwin s extensive writings, both published and unpublished, in order to reveal Darwin s actual species concept. Stamos argues that Darwin had a unique evolutionary species concept in mind, one that was not at all a product of his time. Challenging currently accepted views that believe Darwin was merely following the species ascriptions of his fellow naturalists, Stamos works to prove that this prevailing, nominalistic view should be overturned. This book also addresses three issues pertinent to the philosophy of science: the modern species problem, the nature of concept change in scientific revolutions, and the contextualist trend in professional history of science.
 

Contents

A History of Nominalist Interpretation
1
Taxon Category and Laws of Nature
21
The HorizontalVertical Distinction and the Language Analogy
37
Common Descent and Natural Classification
65
Natural Selection and the Unity of Science
81
Not Sterility Fertility or Niches
107
The Varieties Problem
131
Darwins Strategy
153
Concept Change in Scientific Revolutions
187
Darwin and the New Historiography
207
Notes
231
References
249
Index
267
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About the author (2007)

David N. Stamos teaches philosophy at York University, Toronto and is the author of The Species Problem: Biological Species, Ontology, and the Metaphysics of Biology.

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