Why the Debate about the Metaphysics of Biological Species Should Not Be Deflated

In: History of Philosophy & Logical Analysis
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  • 1 Fino Consortium, Department of Antiquity, Philosophy, History, University of Genoa, Genoa, Italy

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Abstract

Some philosophers of biology state that the metaphysical status of biological species is context determined by the use different branches of biology make of their corresponding proper names, so that one and the same biological species can be both an individual and a natural kind. In this paper, I aim to undermine the idea, often associated with the present thesis, according to which the debate about the metaphysical status of biological species should be deflated, since it would be possible to translate every sentence from natural-kind talk to individual-talk and vice versa. I offer a charitable interpretation of the principle grounding such an idea and show how it is in tension with independent theoretical biological notions.

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