A discussion about the limits of the species concept

Mariano Martín Villuendas

Abstract


The conceptual dilemma that species entail has divided, since its formulation, biologists and philosophers in two spheres: those who believe in the existence of a unified category of species and those who defend the unyielding plurality of equally legitimate concepts. The aim of this paper is to comprise the analysis of the problems that revolve around the species category with the only purpose being to determine the existence of only one univocal and unrestricted definition of species. For this reason, the paper will be divided into two sections. The first section will analyse the extent to which essentialism amounts to an antithetical theory to the modern biological theory. In the second section a detailed critique will be carried out on existing attempts to devise a definition of species. Two conclusions can be drawn from the previous statements. First and due to the fall of essentialism, that there is not only one single category of species but an uncompromising plurality of concepts. Secondly and following previous assertion, it can be stated that the most consistent viewpoint in the evolutionary theory is the one in which an ontological pluralism is embraced and, consequently, a taxonomical pluralism.

 

Keywords


taxonomy; evolution; species taxon; species category; pluralism

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.22370/rhv2019iss14pp241-273

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