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Carving Nature at Its JointsNatural Kinds in Metaphysics and Science$
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Joseph Keim Campbell, Michael O'Rourke, and Matthew H. Slater

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780262015936

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: August 2013

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262015936.001.0001

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Natural Kinds and Biological Realisms

Natural Kinds and Biological Realisms

(p.154) (p.155) 8 Natural Kinds and Biological Realisms
Carving Nature at Its Joints

Michael Devitt

The MIT Press

This chapter discusses issues regarding realism, specifically the realism issues in biology. The discussion starts with an issue that arises from the debate between “species monists” who argue that there exists only one good “species concept” and “species pluralists” who insist that there are many. The various species concepts are then summarized and the motivation for pluralism outlined. An overview of realism is provided here, specifically, of a“realism about the external world.” Finally, the central question, focusing on the apparent clash between Marc Ereshefsky’s “pluralistic antirealism” and Philip Kitcher’s “pluralistic realism,” is addressed. The chapter concludes by considering “realism” issues about genera and higher categories in the Linnaean hierarchy.

Keywords:   realism, species monists, species concept, species pluralists, realism about the external world, Marc Ereshefsky, pluralistic antirealism, Philip Kitcher, pluralistic realism, Linnaean hierarchy

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