Ereshefsky (2017)

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Ereshefsky, Marc. (2017) Species. In Zalta (Ed.) (2017). Retrieved from

Title Species
Resource Type collection article
Author(s) Marc Ereshefsky
Year 2017
Collection Zalta (Ed.) (2017)


The nature of species is controversial in biology and philosophy. Biologists disagree on the definition of the term ‘species,’ and philosophers disagree over the ontological status of species. Yet a proper understanding of species is important for a number of reasons. Species are the fundamental taxonomic units of biological classification. Environmental laws are framed in terms of species. Even our conception of human nature is affected by our understanding of species. In this entry, three issues concerning species are discussed. The first is the ontological status of species. The second is whether biologists should be species pluralists or species monists. The third is whether the theoretical term ‘species’ refers to a real category in nature.