Population thinking as trope nominalism

Synthese 177 (1):91 - 109 (2010)
Download Edit this record How to cite View on PhilPapers
Abstract
The concept of population thinking was introduced by Ernst Mayr as the right way of thinking about the biological domain, but it is difficult to find an interpretation of this notion that is both unproblematic and does the theoretical work it was intended to do. I argue that, properly conceived, Mayr’s population thinking is a version of trope nominalism: the view that biological property-types do not exist or at least they play no explanatory role. Further, although population thinking has been traditionally used to argue against essentialism about biological kinds, recently it has been suggested that it may be consistent with at least some forms of essentialism—ones that construe essential properties as relational. I argue that if population thinking is a version of trope nominalism, then, as Mayr originally claimed, it rules out any version of essentialism about biological kinds.
PhilPapers/Archive ID
NANPTA
Revision history
Archival date: 2020-01-19
View upload history
References found in this work BETA

View all 74 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

View all 7 citations / Add more citations

Added to PP index
2009-08-03

Total views
120 ( #30,285 of 50,201 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
17 ( #31,682 of 50,201 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads since first upload
This graph includes both downloads from PhilArchive and clicks to external links.