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  1. Species Problems.Matthew H. Haber - 2013 - Metascience 22 (2):339-342.
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  • The “Species” Concept as a Gateway to Nature of Science.Jorun Nyléhn & Marianne Ødegaard - 2018 - Science & Education 27 (7-8):685-714.
    The nature of science is a primary goal in school science. Most teachers are not well-prepared for teaching NOS, but a sophisticated and in-depth understanding of NOS is necessary for effective teaching. Some authors emphasize the need for teaching NOS in context. Species, a central concept in biology, is proposed in this article as a concrete example of a means for achieving increased understanding of NOS. Although species are commonly presented in textbooks as fixed entities with a single definition, the (...)
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  • Cladistic Parsimony, Historical Linguistics and Cultural Phylogenetics.Frank Cabrera - 2017 - Mind and Language 32 (1):65-100.
    Here, I consider the recent application of phylogenetic methods in historical linguistics. After a preliminary survey of one such method, i.e. cladistic parsimony, I respond to two common criticisms of cultural phylogenies: that cultural artifacts cannot be modeled as tree-like because of borrowing across lineages, and that the mechanism of cultural change differs radically from that of biological evolution. I argue that while perhaps remains true for certain cultural artifacts, the nature of language may be such as to side-step this (...)
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  • Racial Realism I: Are Biological Races Real?Quayshawn Spencer - 2018 - Philosophy Compass 13 (1).
    In this article, I discuss and critique how metaphysicians of race have conceived of and defended racial realism according to how biologists use “race”. I start by defining “racial realism” in the broadest accepted way in the metaphysics of race. Next, I summarize a representative sample of recent attempts from metaphysicians of race and biologists to defend racial realism and the main criticisms against each attempt. I discuss how metaphysicians of race have defended racial realism according to how ordinary people (...)
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  • Pluto and the Platypus: An Odd Ball and an Odd Duck — On Classificatory Norms.Matthew H. Slater - 2017 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 61:1-10.
    Some astronomers believe that we have discovered that Pluto is not a planet. I contest this assessment. Recent discoveries of trans-Neptunian Pluto-sized objects do not require that we exclude Pluto from the planets. But the obvious alternative, that classificatory revision is a matter of arbitrary choice, is also unpalatable. I argue that this classificatory controversy — which I compare to the controversy about the classification of the platypus — illustrates how our classificatory practices are laden with normative commitments of a (...)
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  • The Future of Systematics: Tree Thinking Without the Tree.Joel D. Velasco - 2012 - Philosophy of Science 79 (5):624-636.
    Phylogenetic trees are meant to represent the genealogical history of life and apparently derive their justification from the existence of the tree of life and the fact that evolutionary processes are treelike. However, there are a number of problems for these assumptions. Here it is argued that once we understand the important role that phylogenetic trees play as models that contain idealizations, we can accept these criticisms and deny the reality of the tree while justifying the continued use of trees (...)
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  • Multilevel Lineages and Multidimensional Trees: The Levels of Lineage and Phylogeny Reconstruction.Matthew H. Haber - 2012 - Philosophy of Science 79 (5):609-623.
    The relation between method, concept and theory in science is complicated. I seek to shed light on that relation by considering an instance of it in systematics: The additional challenges phylogeneticists face when reconstructing phylogeny not at a single level, but simultaneously at multiple levels of the hierarchy. How does this complicate the task of phylogenetic inference, and how might it inform and shape the conceptual foundations of phylogenetics? This offers a lens through which the interplay of method, theory and (...)
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  • When Monophyly is Not Enough: Exclusivity as the Key to Defining a Phylogenetic Species Concept.Joel D. Velasco - 2009 - Biology and Philosophy 24 (4):473-486.
    A natural starting place for developing a phylogenetic species concept is to examine monophyletic groups of organisms. Proponents of “the” Phylogenetic Species Concept fall into one of two camps. The first camp denies that species even could be monophyletic and groups organisms using character traits. The second groups organisms using common ancestry and requires that species must be monophyletic. I argue that neither view is entirely correct. While monophyletic groups of organisms exist, they should not be equated with species. Instead, (...)
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  • Deep Conventionalism About Evolutionary Groups.Matthew J. Barker & Joel D. Velasco - 2013 - Philosophy of Science 80 (5):971-982.
    We argue for a new conventionalism about many kinds of evolutionary groups, including clades, cohesive units, and populations. This rejects a consensus, which says that given any one of the many legitimate grouping concepts, only objective biological facts determine whether a collection is such a group. Surprisingly, being any one kind of evolutionary group typically depends on which of many incompatible values are taken by suppressed variables. This is a novel pluralism underlying most any one group concept, rather than a (...)
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  • Species, Genes, and the Tree of Life.Joel Velasco - 2010 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 61 (3):599-619.
    A common view is that species occupy a unique position on the Tree of Life. Evaluating this claim requires an understanding of what the Tree of Life represents. The Tree represents history, but there are at least three biological levels that are often said to have genealogies: species, organisms, and genes. Here I focus on defending the plausibility of a gene-based account of the Tree. This leads to an account of species that are determined by gene genealogies. On this view, (...)
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  • Phylogeny as Population History.Joel D. Velasco - 2013 - Philosophy, Theory, and Practice in Biology 5:e402.
    The project of this paper is to understand what a phylogenetic tree represents and to discuss some of the implications that this has for the practice of systematics. At least the first part of this task, if not both parts, might appear trivial—or perhaps better suited for a single page in a textbook rather than a scholarly research paper. But this would be a mistake. While the task of interpreting phylogenetic trees is often treated in a trivial way, their interpretation (...)
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  • Philosophy and Phylogenetics.Joel D. Velasco - 2013 - Philosophy Compass 8 (10):990-998.
    Phylogenetics is the study and reconstruction of evolutionary history and is filled with numerous foundational issues of interest to philosophers. This paper briefly introduces some central concepts in the field, describes some of the main methods for inferring phylogenies, and provides some arguments for the superiority of model-based methods such as Likelihood and Bayesian methods over nonparametric methods such as parsimony. It also raises some underdeveloped issues in the field of interest to philosophers.
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