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Specious Intrinsicalism

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 January 2022

Abstract

Over the last 2,300 years or so, many philosophers have believed that species are individuated by essences that are at least in part intrinsic. Psychologists tell us most folks also believe this view. But most philosophers of biology have abandoned the view, in light of evolutionary conceptions of species. In defiance, Michael Devitt has attempted in this journal to resurrect a version of the view, which he calls Intrinsic Biological Essentialism. I show that his arguments for the resurrection fail, and I identify challenges that face anyone wishing to defend Intrinsic Biological Essentialism.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © The Philosophy of Science Association

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Footnotes

I am grateful to Michael Devitt, Marc Ereshefsky, Larry Shapiro, Elliott Sober, Joel Velasco, and Peter Vranas for helpful comments and to Georges Rey and Robert Wilson for discussion of the topic. The Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada provided generous financial support.

References

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