Matthew Haber and Joel Velasco

Joel Velasco and Matthew Haber on biological systematics.

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Biological systematics is about the classification of life given the diverse evolutionary history, morphology, and genetic features of living things. In this episode, Haber and Velasco discuss a range of philosophical issues raised by biological systematics, with a focus on species classification. They consider views of species as natural groupings (6:37), as lineages (17:26), and as natural kinds or homeostatic property clusters (33:38). Haber defends a view of species as individuals (44:28), and Velasco raises doubts about that view (55:33). Velasco presents a view of species as a rank (66:25). They conclude by discussing naming and reference in biological systematics (74:38).

Related works

by Haber:
“Colonies Are Individuals: Revisiting the Superorganism Revival” in From Groups to Individuals: Evolution and Emerging Individuality (2013)
“How to Misidentify a Type Specimen” (2012)

by Velasco:
with Matt Barker: “Deep Conventionalism about Evolutionary Groups” (forthcoming)
“Phylogeny as Population History” (2013)
“Species concepts should not conflict with evolutionary history, but often do” (2008)

See also:

Nadin Rohland, et al., “Genomic DNA Sequences from Mastodon and Woolly Mammoth Reveal Deep Speciation of Forest and Savanna Elephants” (2010)

Brent Mishler, “Getting rid of species” in Rob Wilson (ed.), “Species: New Interdisciplinary Essays” (1999)


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