•  1
    Defining 'Health' and 'Disease'
    Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 40 (3): 221-227. 2009.
    How should we define 'health' and 'disease'? There are three main positions in the literature. Naturalists desire value-free definitions based on scientific theories. Normativists believe that our uses of 'health' and 'disease' reflect value judgments. Hybrid theorists offer definitions containing both normativist and naturalist elements. This paper discusses the problems with these views and offers an alternative approach to the debate over 'health' and 'disease'. Instead of trying to find the …Read more
  •  4
    Toward a New Philosophy of Biology
    Philosophy of Science 57 (4): 725-727. 1990.
  •  24
    Historicity and explanation
    Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 80 47-55. 2020.
  •  172
    Where the wild things are: environmental preservation and human nature
    Biology and Philosophy 22 (1): 57-72. 2007.
    Environmental philosophers spend considerable time drawing the divide between humans and the rest of nature. Some argue that humans and our actions are unnatural. Others allow that humans are natural, but maintain that humans are nevertheless distinct. The motivation for distinguishing humans from the rest of nature is the desire to determine what aspects of the environment should be preserved. The standard view is that we should preserve those aspects of the environment outside of humans and ou…Read more
  •  32
    Natural Kinds, Mind Independence, and Defeasibility
    Philosophy of Science 85 (5): 845-856. 2018.
    A standard requirement on natural kinds is that they be mind independent. However, many kinds in the human and social sciences, even the natural sciences, depend on human thought. This article suggests that the mind independence requirement on natural kinds be replaced with the requirement that natural kind classifications be defeasible. The defeasibility requirement does not require that natural kinds be mind independent, so it does not exclude mind dependent scientific kinds from being natural…Read more
  •  144
    Psychological categories as homologies: lessons from ethology
    Biology and Philosophy 22 (5): 659-674. 2007.
    Biology and Philosophy, forthcoming 2007.
  •  1
    Traditionally, species have been treated by biologists and philosophers as natural kinds. However, this conception of species has posed several problems for evolutionary theory. For example, biologists have been hard pressed to find traits had by all and only the members of a species. This has caused some philosophers to doubt that evolutionary theory is a scientific theory. ;In an effort to resolve such problems, Michael Ghiselin and David Hull have argued that species are not kinds but individ…Read more
  •  91
    Linnaean ranks: Vestiges of a bygone era
    Proceedings of the Philosophy of Science Association 2002 (3). 2002.
    We tend to think that there are different types of biological taxa: some taxa are species, others are genera, while others are families. Linnaeus gave us his ranks in 1731. Biological theory has changed since Linnaeus’s time. Nevertheless, the vast majority of biologists still assign Linnaean ranks to taxa, even though that practice is at odds with evolutionary theory and even though it causes a number of practical problems. The Linnaean ranks should be abandoned and alternative methods for disp…Read more
  •  19
    Defining ‘health’ and ‘disease’
    Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 40 (3): 221-227. 2009.
  •  45
    The question of whether biologists should continue to use the Linnaean hierarchy has been a hotly debated issue. Invented before the introduction of evolutionary theory, Linnaeus's system of classifying organisms is based on outdated theoretical assumptions, and is thought to be unable to provide accurate biological classifications. Marc Ereshefsky argues that biologists should abandon the Linnaean system and adopt an alternative that is more in line with evolutionary theory. He traces the evolu…Read more
  •  384
    Species pluralism and anti-realism
    Philosophy of Science 65 (1): 103-120. 1998.
    Species pluralism gives us reason to doubt the existence of the species category. The problem is not that species concepts are chosen according to our interests or that pluralism and the desire for hierarchical classifications are incompatible. The problem is that the various taxa we call 'species' lack a common unifying feature
  •  47
    Names, numbers and indentations: A guide to post-linnaean taxonomy
    Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 32 (2): 361-383. 2001.
    The vast majority of biological taxonomists use the Linnaean system when constructing classifications. Taxa are assigned Linnaean ranks and taxon names are devised according to the Linnaean rules of nomenclature. Unfortunately, the Linnaean system has become theoretically outdated. Moreover, its continued use causes a number of practical problems. This paper begins by sketching the ontological and practical problems facing the Linnaean system. Those problems are sufficiently pressing that altern…Read more
  •  92
    Homology: Integrating Phylogeny and Development
    Biological Theory 4 (3): 225-229. 2009.
  •  11
    Consilience, Historicity, and the Species Problem
    In R. Paul Thompson & Denis Walsh (eds.), Evolutionary biology: conceptual, ethical, and religious issues, Cambridge University Press. pp. 65-86. 2014.
  • The Units of Evolution: Essays on the Nature of Species
    Journal of the History of Biology 25 (3): 500-501. 1992.
  •  46
    The evolution of the linnaean hierarchy
    Biology and Philosophy 12 (4): 493-519. 1997.
    The Linnaean system of classification is a threefold system of theoretical assumptions, sorting rules, and rules of nomenclature. Over time, that system has lost its theoretical assumptions as well as its sorting rules. Cladistic revisions have left it less and less Linnaean. And what remains of the system is flawed on pragmatic grounds. Taking all of this into account, it is time to consider alternative systems of classification.
  •  55
    To cite this Article: Ereshefsky, Marc , 'Foundational Issues Concerning Taxa and Taxon Names', Systematic Biology, 56:2, 295 - 301 To link to this article: DOI: 10.1080/10635150701317401 URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10635150701317401..
  •  21
    Linnaean Ranks: Vestiges of a Bygone Era
    Philosophy of Science 69 (S3). 2002.
    We tend to think that there are different types of biological taxa: some taxa are species, others are genera, while others are families. Linnaeus gave us his ranks in 1731. Biological theory has changed since Linnaeus’s time. Nevertheless, the vast majority of biologists still assign Linnaean ranks to taxa, even though that practice is at odds with evolutionary theory and even though it causes a number of practical problems. The Linnaean ranks should be abandoned and alternative methods for disp…Read more
  •  337
    Darwin’s solution to the species problem
    Synthese 175 (3). 2010.
    Biologists and philosophers that debate the existence of the species category fall into two camps. Some believe that the species category does not exist and the term 'species' should be eliminated from biology. Others believe that with new biological insights or the application of philosophical ideas, we can be confident that the species category exists. This paper offers a different approach to the species problem. We should be skeptical of the species category, but not skeptical of the existen…Read more
  •  202
    In her "Species Are Individuals" (1985), Mary Williams offers informal arguments and a sketched proof which allegedly show that species are individuals with respect to evolutionary theory. In this paper, I suggest that her informal arguments are insufficient for showing that clans are not sets and that species are individuals. I also argue that her sketched proof depends on three questionable assumptions
  •  249
    Some problems with the linnaean hierarchy
    Philosophy of Science 61 (2): 186-205. 1994.
    Most biologists use the Linnaean system for constructing classifications of the organic world. The Linnaean system, however, has lost its theoretical basis due to the shift in biology from creationist and essentialist tenets to evolutionary theory. As a result, the Linnaean system is both cumbersome and ontologically vacuous. This paper illustrates the problems facing the Linnaean system, and ends with a brief introduction to an alternative approach to biological classification
  •  25
    Names, numbers and indentations: a guide to post-Linnaean taxonomy
    Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 32 (2): 361-383. 2001.
  •  70
    Homology thinking
    Biology and Philosophy 27 (3): 381-400. 2012.
    This paper explores an important type of biological explanation called ‘homology thinking.’ Homology thinking explains the properties of a homologue by citing the history of a homologue. Homology thinking is significant in several ways. First, it offers more detailed explanations of biological phenomena than corresponding analogy explanations. Second, it provides an important explanation of character similarity and difference. Third, homology thinking offers a promising account of multiple reali…Read more
  •  24
    Critical Notice
    Canadian Journal of Philosophy 25 (1): 143-158. 1995.
  •  22
    The metaphysics of evolution (review)
    Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 22 (3): 525-532. 1991.
  •  88
    Species, Historicity, and Path Dependency
    Philosophy of Science 81 (5): 714-726. 2014.
    This paper clarifies the historical nature of species by showing that species are path-dependent entities. A species’ identity is not determined by its intrinsic properties or its origin, but by its unique evolutionary path. Seeing that species are path-dependent entities has three implications: it shows that origin essentialism is mistaken, it rebuts two challenges to the species-are-historical-entities thesis, and it demonstrates that the identity of a species during speciation depends on futu…Read more
  •  166
    Microbiology and the species problem
    Biology and Philosophy 25 (4): 553-568. 2010.
    This paper examines the species problem in microbiology and its implications for the species problem more generally. Given the different meanings of ‘species’ in microbiology, the use of ‘species’ in biology is more multifarious and problematic than commonly recognized. So much so, that recent work in microbial systematics casts doubt on the existence of a prokaryote species category in nature. It also casts doubt on the existence of a general species category for all of life (one that includes …Read more