Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Putting Metaphysics FirstEssays on Metaphysics and Epistemology$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Michael Devitt

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780199280803

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199280803.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 16 January 2021

Natural Kinds and Biological Realisms *

Natural Kinds and Biological Realisms *

(p.197) 10 Natural Kinds and Biological Realisms*
Putting Metaphysics First

Michael Devitt (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines some interesting ‘realism’ issues in biology, arguing that these are best seen as about which kinds are explanatorily significant, which ones are ‘natural kinds’. Seeing them as ‘realism’ issues has caused unclarity and confusion. The main issue discussed is that between Ereshefsky's ‘pluralistic antirealism’ and Kitcher's ‘pluralistic realism’ about species. The chapter argues that so far as ‘realism’ is concerned, these views are actually the same. Concerning the higher categories it finds no good reason for the view of Eldredge and Cracraft that the higher taxa ‘do not exist in the same sense as do species’ and doubts the cladistic view that only monophyletic groups are ‘real’, that is to say, natural kinds. However, the signs are that the higher categories are not natural kinds and hence that the Linnaean hierarchy should be abandoned.

Keywords:   natural kinds, biological realisms, Ereshefsky, Kitcher, species, Eldredge, Cracraft, cladism, monophyletic, Linnaean hierarchy

Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .