Metaphysics and the Origin of Species

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SUNY Press, 1997 - Science - 377 pages
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In explaining his individuality thesis, Michael T. Ghiselin provides extended discussions of such philosophical topics as definition, the reality of various kinds of groups, and how we classify traits and processes. He develops and applies the implications for general biology and other sciences and makes the case that a better understanding of species and of classification in general puts biologists and paleontologists in a much better position to understand nature in general, and such processes as extinction in particular.
  

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Contents

Introduction
1
Beyond Language
19
What an Individual Is
37
What an Individual Is Not
51
Some Definitions of Definition
63
Definitions of Species and Some Other Terms
81
Some Alternatives to the Biological Species Concept
99
Objections to the Individuality Thesis
123
Natural and Artificial Systems
181
Characters and Homologies
199
Laws of Nature
219
The Principles of Historical Inference
231
Embryology as History and as Law
245
The Artifactual Basis of Macroevolution
263
Toward a Real History of Life
285
Aphorisms Summary and Glossographic
301

Working Out the Analogies
135
Why Do Species Exist?
149
Objective and Subjective Systems
163
References
309
Index
367
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About the author (1997)

Michael T. Ghiselin is the author of Intellectual Compromise, The Economy of Nature and the Evolution of Sex, and The Triumph of the Darwinian Method. A Senior Research Fellow at the California Academy of Sciences, he is the recipient of a 1981 MacArthur Prize and was awarded the 1970 Pfizer Prize by the History of Science Society.

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