Moderate pluralism is a popular position in contemporary philosophy of biology. Despite its popularity, various authors have argued that it tends to slide off off into a radical form of pluralism that is both normatively and descriptively ueptable. This paper looks at at the case of biological species classification, and evaluates a popular way of avoiding radical pluralism by relying on the shared aims and norms of a discipline. The main contention is that while these aims and norms may play (...) an important role in the legitimacy of species classifications, they fail to fend off radical pluralism. It follows from this that the legitimacy of species classifications is also determined by local decisions about the aims of research and how to operationalize and balance these. This is important, I argue, because it means that any acceptable view on the legitimacy of classification should be able to account for these local decisions. (shrink)
One potentially extremely fruitful use of the tools of corpus analysis in the philosophy of science is to help us understand disputed terrains within the sciences that we study. For philosophers of biology, for instance, few controversies are as heated as those over the concepts we use in taxonomy to classify the living world, with the definition of ‘species’ perhaps most fundamental among them. As many understandings of biodiversity, in turn, involve counting the number of species present in a given (...) area, these taxonomic concepts thus become crucially implicated in our efforts in conservation biology and our response to climate change. In this chapter, we present a corpus of taxonomic journal papers, and illustrate how it might be used to make progress in the history and philosophy of taxonomy. What parts of the biological world do taxonomists most often study? Are these areas of focus related to other methodological commitments, or perhaps to their underlying conceptual disagreement? Are species that are more important to conservation, or economic concerns, or more important to local cultures, more or less likely to be the target of biological study? Corpus-based methods, we argue, are uniquely powerful for approaching questions such as these, and we hope that the case we present can serve as a fruitful example for others considering their implementation. (shrink)
The main claim of this thesis is that value-judgments should play a profound role in the construction and evaluation of species classifications. The arguments for this claim will be presented over the course of five chapters. These are divided into two main parts; part one, which consists of the two first chapters, presents an argument for a radical form of species pluralism; part two, which comprises the remaining chapters, discusses the implications of radical species pluralism for the role of values (...) in species classification. The content of the five chapters is as follows. Chapter 1 starts with a discussion of the theoretical assumptions concerning species and natural kinds that form the broad framework within which the arguments of the thesis are placed. The aim of this chapter is to introduce a set of relatively uncontroversial assumptions that frame the rest of the thesis. On the basis of these assumptions, chapter 2 presents an argument for radical species pluralism. The chapter substantiates this argument with a broad range of examples, and compares this position to other forms of species pluralism. Chapter 3 returns to the main interest of the thesis, namely, the role of values in species classification. It introduces the notion of values and presents an argument for the value-ladenness of taxonomy on the basis of the considerations in the first two chapters. It then sketches three important views on values in science in the literature. Chapter 4 argues that the case presented in chapter 3 provides strong support for one of these views, called the ‘Aims View’, and against two other prominent views, called the ‘Epistemic Priority View’ and the ‘Value-Free Ideal’. The resulting view, in line with the Aims View, is that value-judgments should play a particularly substantial role in species classification. Chapter 5 then considers the popular assumption that these value-judgments in taxonomy commonly take the shape of generally accepted classificatory norms, and argues that this assumption is not tenable. Finally, a brief concluding chapter points at some implications of the claims and arguments in this thesis. (shrink)
It has recently been argued that the concept of natural kinds should be eliminated because it does not play a productive theoretical role and even harms philosophical research on scientific classification. We argue that this justification for eliminativism fails because the notion of ‘natural kinds’ plays another epistemic role in philosophical research, namely, it enables fruitful investigation into non-arbitrary classification. It does this in two ways: first, by providing a fruitful investigative entry into scientific classification; and second—as is supported by (...) bibliometric evidence—by tying together a research community devoted to non-arbitrary classification. The question of eliminativism then requires weighing off the benefits of retaining the concept against its harms. We argue that the progressive state of philosophical work on natural kinds tips this balance in favour of retaining the concept. (shrink)
There is growing agreement among taxonomists that species are independently evolving lineages. The central notion of this conception, evolutionary independence, is commonly operationalized by taxonomists in multiple, diverging ways. This leads to a problem of operationalization-dependency in species classification, as species delimitation is not only dependent on the properties of the investigated groups, but also on how taxonomists choose to operationalize evolutionary independence. The question then is how the operationalization-dependency of species delimitation is compatible with its objectivity and reliability. In (...) response to this problem, various taxonomists have proposed to integrate multiple operationalizations of evolutionary independence for delimiting species. This paper first distinguishes between a standard and a sophisticated integrative approach to taxonomy, and argues that it is unclear how either of these can support the reliability and objectivity of species delimitation. It then draws a parallel between the measurement of physical quantities and species delimitation to argue that species delimitation can be considered objective and reliable if we understand the sophisticated integrative approach as assessing the coherence between the idealized models of multiple operationalizations of evolutionary independence. (shrink)
It is well known that taxonomists rely on many different methods and criteria for species delimitation, leading to different kinds of groups being recognised as species. While this state of relative disorder is widely acknowledged, there is no similar agreement about how it should be resolved. This paper considers the view that the disorder in species classification should be resolved by a system of taxonomic governance. I argue that such a system of governance is best seen as a combination of (...) standardisation, unification and regulation, each of which can be implemented in different forms. I investigate the forms that these three components should take for taxonomic governance by looking into two successfully governed classification systems, namely, virus classification and enzyme classification. The last part of the paper then defends the governance view against five objections. (shrink)
Garnett and Christidis (2017) [hereafter GC] recently proposed that the International Union of the Biological Sciences should centrally regulate the taxonomy of complex organisms. Their proposal was met with much criticism (e.g. Hołyński 2017; Thomson et al., 2018), and perhaps most extensively from Raposo et al. (2017) in this journal. The main target of this criticism was GC’s call to, first, “restrict the freedom of taxonomic action”, and, second, to let social, political and conservation values weigh in on species classification. (...) Some commentators even went as far as to draw a comparison with the infamous Lysenko-case of state-controlled and heavily restricted science (Raposo et al. 2017, 181; Hołyński 2017, 12). This comment will argue, without thereby endorsing GC’s position, that these two aspects of their views need not be as threatening as this comparison suggests, and indeed are very reasonable. (shrink)
This paper investigates the case of enzyme classification to evaluate different ideals for regulating values in science. I show that epistemic and non-epistemic considerations are inevitably and untraceably entangled in enzyme classification, and argue that this has significant implications for the two main kinds of views on values in science, namely, Epistemic Priority Views and Joint Satisfaction Views. More precisely, I argue that the case of enzyme classification poses a problem for the usability and descriptive accuracy of these two views. (...) The paper ends by suggesting that these two views provide different but complementary perspectives, and that both are useful for evaluating values in science. (shrink)
Lists of species underpin many fields of human endeavour, but there are currently no universally accepted principles for deciding which biological species should be accepted when there are alternative taxonomic treatments (and, by extension, which scientific names should be applied to those species). As improvements in information technology make it easier to communicate, access, and aggregate biodiversity information, there is a need for a framework that helps taxonomists and the users of taxonomy decide which taxa and names should be used (...) by society whilst continuing to encourage taxonomic research that leads to new species discoveries, new knowledge of species relationships, and the refinement of existing species concepts. Here, we present 10 principles that can underpin such a governance framework, namely (i) the species list must be based on science and free from nontaxonomic considerations and interference, (ii) governance of the species list must aim for community support and use, (iii) all decisions about list composition must be transparent, (iv) the governance of validated lists of species is separate from the governance of the names of taxa, (v) governance of lists of accepted species must not constrain academic freedom, (vi) the set of criteria considered sufficient to recognise species boundaries may appropriately vary between different taxonomic groups but should be consistent when possible, (vii) a global list must balance conflicting needs for currency and stability by having archived versions, (viii) contributors need appropriate recognition, (ix) list content should be traceable, and (x) a global listing process needs both to encompass global diversity and to accommodate local knowledge of that diversity. We conclude by outlining issues that must be resolved if such a system of taxonomic list governance and a unified list of accepted scientific names generated are to be universally adopted. (shrink)
The relation between conservation science and taxonomy is typically seen as a simple dependency of the former on the latter. This dependency is assumed to be strictly one-way to avoid normative concerns from conservation science inappropriately affecting the descriptive discipline of taxonomy. In this paper, I argue against this widely assumed standard view on the relation between these two disciplines by highlighting two important roles for conservation scientists in scientific decisions that are part of the internal stages of taxonomy. I (...) show that these roles imply that the two disciplines should be interdependent and that value-judgments should play a substantial role in both. (shrink)
Various authors have recently expressed doubts about the public relevance of philosophy. These doubts target both academic philosophy in general and particular subfields of philosophy. This paper investigates whether these doubts are justified through two tests in which the lack of public relevance of a philosophical paper is operationalized as the degree to which that paper is isolated. Both tests suggest that academic philosophy in general is more isolated from the broader public than it should be, and confirm the hypothesis (...) that some subfields of philosophy are more isolated than others. We argue that this lack of public relevance is caused by the incentive structure of academic philosophy and discuss a range of individual-level and incentive-level solutions. (shrink)
A recent controversy about neural networks allegedly capable of detecting a person’s sexual orientation raises the question of whether all research on homosexuality should be permitted. This paper considers two arguments for limits to such research, and concludes that there are good reasons to limit at least the dissemination of applied research on the etiology of homosexuality. The paper then briefly sketches how this could work, and looks at three objections against these limitations.
Evolutionary and organismal biology have become inundated with data. At the same rate, we are experiencing a surge in broader evolutionary and ecological syntheses for which tree-thinking is the staple for a variety of post-tree analyses. To fully take advantage of this wealth of data to discover and understand large-scale evolutionary and ecological patterns, computational data integration, i.e., the use of machines to link data at large scale, is crucial. The most common shared entity by which evolutionary and ecological data (...) need to be linked is the taxon to which they belong. We propose a set of requirements that a system for defining such taxa should meet for computational data science: taxon definitions should maintain conceptual consistency, be reproducible via a known algorithm, be computationally automatable, and be applicable across the Tree of Life. We argue that Linnaean names, the most prevalent means of linking data to taxa, fail to meet these requirements due to fundamental theoretical and practical shortfalls. We argue that for the purposes of data-integration we should instead use phylogenetic definitions transformed into formal logic expressions. We call such expressions “phyloreferences”, and argue that, unlike Linnaean names, they meet all requirements for effective data-integration. (shrink)
The matched papers of 17 topic in Philpapers, with its original bibliographical records and WoS UT number. The matched progress can be referred in the paper "Measuring the Isolation of Research Topics in Philosophy" by Pei-Shan Chi and Stijn Conix. Chi, P.S. & Conix, S.. Measuring the Isolation of Research Topics in Philosophy, Scientometrics.
After decades of debates about species concepts, there is broad agreement that species are evolving lineages. However, species classification is still in a state of disorder: different methods of delimitation lead to competing outcomes for the same organisms, and the groups recognised as species are of widely different kinds. This paper considers whether this problem can be resolved by developing a unitary scale for evolutionary independence. Such a scale would show clearly when groups are comparable and allow taxonomists to choose (...) a conventional threshold of independence for species status. Existing measurement approaches to species delimitation are typically shot down by what I call the heterogeneity objection, according to which independently evolving groups are too heterogeneous to be captured by a single scale. I draw a parallel with the measurement of temperature to argue that this objection does not provide sufficient reasons to abandon the measurement approach, and that such an approach may even help to make the vague notion of evolutionary independence more precise. (shrink)