John S. Wilkins: Species: A History of the Idea
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Species: A History of the Idea, by John Wilkins, is a recent entry into the long enduring debate about the nature of species. Other books that have engaged this debate in the last few years include The Species Problem, Biological Species, Ontology, and the Metaphysics of Biology by David Stamos (Stamos 2004); and my own The Species Problem: A Philosophical Analysis (Richards 2010). There have also appeared numerous edited volumes, including Marc Ereshefsky’s The Units of Evolution: Essays on the Nature of Species (Ereshefsky 1992). This topic, the nature of species, has been the focus of much attention because species have great significance in both biology and philosophy. Species have traditionally been taken by biologists to be the basic units of evolution—the things that evolve; and the basic units of classification—the things that get grouped into genera, families, classes, orders, kingdoms etc. Species are also often taken to be the basic units of biodiversity, as...
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