South African Journal of Philosophy

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Naturalizing the Metaphysics of Species: A Perspective on the Species Problem

R Grant


The idea of naturalizing metaphysics stretches back to Locke and Newton. Recently it has been revived by Ross and Ladyman et al (2007) in ‘Every Thing Must Go’. At the heart of the doctrine is the idea that metaphysics should be constrained by actual science (science which is current and institutionally valid). It is my attempt in this paper to naturalize the metaphysics of the species problem by proposing a species concept which conforms to the principles set out in Ross and Ladyman et al's book. This is a concept which conforms strictly with current work in the field of evolutionary theory, with specific reference to theories in Information theory and Thermodynamics. In the end I use as an example of non-naturalized metaphysics Matthew Slater's paper ‘The Indeterminacy Problem for Species as Individuals’
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