Species Concepts

The Tested, the Untestable, and the Redundant
  • Frederick S. Szalay
Part of the Advances in Primatology book series (AIPR)


The Random House College Dictionary of 1968 gives as the first of several listed definitions of the word theory: “a coherent group of general propositions used as principles of explanation for a class of phenomena.” It is in this sense that I will use the concept of theory in this chapter. I would like to add that all sorts of connections between carefully tested concepts, which serve as units of thought and which have objectively established perceptual bases in reality, are usually built into a framework that is often called a theory. These theories, and others within them, are all ultimately tested against sundry aspects of objective reality. The methodology itself employed in taxonomic practice, which is an invented human activity and not a reality of nature, should be based on, follow, or fall out of the tested (not merely testable) theories of evolutionary biology.


Evolutionary Theory Species Concept Species Problem Biological Species Concept Recognition Concept 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • Frederick S. Szalay
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of AnthropologyHunter CollegeNew YorkUSA

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