Date: Thu 12 May 2005 - 01:14:22 GMT
You are treading where at least some fear to go. In many cases your
preferred definition will depend very much on the circumstances where
you need to apply it. It has been a while since I was a practising
evolutionary biologist studying speciation, so I haven't yet seen the
Wheeler & Meier book. However a Google search on it did pull in the
following free-to-the-web paper that discusses many of the issues:
Lee, M.S.Y. 2003. Species concepts and species reality: salvaging a
Linnaean rank. Journal of Evolutionary Biology 16(2):179 -
I would also certainly recommend Ernst Mayr's books on evolution and
systematics as a good place to start.
David Hull's works look at species from a philosophical point of view.
1976, Are Species Really Individuals? Systematic Zoology 25:174-191
1977, The Ontological Status of Species as Evolutionary Units, in
Foundational Problems in the Special Sciences, R. Butts and J.
Hintikka (eds.), Dordrecht-Holland: D. Reidel Publishing Company, pp.
91-102; reprinted in Philosophy and Biology, M. Ruse (ed.), New
York: Macmillan, 1989; and Hull (1989
1987, Genealogical Actors in Ecological Plays, Biology & Philosophy
2:168-203; reprinted in Hull (1989).
1988, Interactors versus Vehicles, in The Role of Behavior in
Evolution, H. Plotkin (ed.), Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, pp. 19-50;
reprinted in Hull (2001).
1992, Biological Species: An Inductivistís Nightmare, in How
Classification Works, Mary Douglas and David Hull (eds.), Edinburgh:
University of Edinburgh Press, pp. 42-68.
1997, The Ideal Species Definition and Why We Canít Get It, in
Species: The Units of Biodiversity, M.F. Claridge, H.A. Dawah, and
M.R. Wilson (eds.), London: Chapman Hall, pp. 357-380.
1999, On the Plurality of Species: Questioning the Party Line, In
Species New Interdisciplinary Essays, Rob Wilson (ed.), Cambridge,
MA: MIT Press pp. 23-48.
Finally, I would recommend M.J.D. White's 1978 Modes of Speciation
for a different point of view from Mayr's.
Evolutionary Biology of Species and Organizations
Quoting Kate Distin <firstname.lastname@example.org>:
> An appeal for advice, please: I'm wanting to learn more about
> concepts and don't know where to start. I've found reference to a
> called "species concepts and phylogenetic theory: a debate" edited
> Wheeler & Meier. Would that be a good place to start or could
> suggest something better, either online or in a book?
> Thank you!
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