In search of pigeonholes
LaPorte (Joseph)
Source: Philosophical Quarterly, 1995, Vol. 45 Issue 181, p499, 7p
Paper - Abstract

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Philosophers Index Abstract

  1. One problem for essentialist views about biological kinds is that these kinds appear to merge into one another.
  2. T.E. Wilkerson has recently tried to circumvent this problem by suggesting that natural kinds1 from biology are narrower than they have been thought to be, so that they are in more exclusive than species.
  3. In the present article I examine this proposal. I investigate plausible candidates for sharply delimited, narrow kinds. None seems to pass muster.
  4. I conclude that, for all that's been said, there is a little reason to think that the biological world neatly divides into narrow, pigeonhole-like units.

  1. Comments on philosopher T.E. Wilkerson's claim that the taxa biologists recognize are characterized by artificial boundaries.
  2. Delimiting of biological kinds by gender;
  3. Attractiveness of tying sex with natural kinds2;
  4. Ways in which monozygotic twins3 can differ.

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