John Wilkins

Edited by Daniel Doak

Published by University of California Press

Published in print August 2009 | ISBN: 9780520260856
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520945074 | DOI:

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  • Animal Pathology and Diseases


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The complex idea of “species” has evolved over time, yet its meaning is far from resolved. This work takes a fresh look at an idea central to the field of biology by tracing its history from antiquity to today. The book explores the essentialist view, a staple of logic from Plato and Aristotle through the Middle Ages to fairly recent times, and considers the idea of species in natural history—a concept often connected to reproduction. Tracing “generative conceptions” of species back through Darwin to Epicurus, the text provides a new perspective on the relationship between philosophical and biological approaches to this concept. It also reviews the array of current definitions.

Keywords: species; biology; Plato; Aristotle; Middle Ages; natural history; reproduction; generative conceptions; Darwin; Epicurus

Book.  320 pages.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Animal Pathology and Diseases

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