Stephen Boulter
Oxford Brookes University
It is usually maintained by biologists and philosophers alike that essentialism is incompatible with evolutionary biology, and that abandoning essentialism was a precondition of progress being made in the biological sciences. These claims pose a problem for anyone familiar with both evolutionary biology and current metaphysics. Very few current scientific theories enjoy the prestige of evolutionary biology. But essentialism – long in the bad books amongst both biologists and philosophers – has been enjoying a strong resurgence of late amongst analytical philosophers with a taste for metaphysics. Indeed, to impartial observers it is likely to appear that both evolutionary biology and essentialism are as well supported in their respective domains as could reasonably be expected. There is thus at least a prima facie tension here between evolutionary biology, metaphysics and, as we shall see, pre-theoretical common sense.
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DOI 10.1017/S1358246112000057
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References found in this work BETA

The Nature of Necessity.Alvin Plantinga - 1974 - Oxford, England: Clarendon Press.
Sameness and Substance.David Wiggins - 1980 - Harvard University Press.
Evolution, Population Thinking, and Essentialism.Elliott Sober - 1980 - Philosophy of Science 47 (3):350-383.
Categories, Life, and Thinking.Michael T. Ghiselin - 1981 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 4 (2):269-283.

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Citations of this work BETA

Individual Essentialism in Biology.Michael Devitt - 2018 - Biology and Philosophy 33 (5-6):39.
A Biologically Informed Hylomorphism.Christopher J. Austin - 2017 - In William M. R. Simpson, Robert C. Koons & Nicholas J. Teh (eds.), Neo-Aristotelian Perspectives on Contemporary Science. Routledge. pp. 185-210.
Evo-Devo: A Science of Dispositions.Christopher Austin - 2017 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 7 (2):373-389.

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