Acta Biotheoretica

, Volume 57, Issue 1–2, pp 33–49 | Cite as

Species as a Process

  • Olivier RieppelEmail author
Regular Article


Species are generally considered to be the basic units of evolution, and hence to constitute spatio-temporally bounded entities. In addition, it has been argued that species also instantiate a natural kind. Evolution is fundamentally about change. The question then is how species can remain the same through evolutionary change. Proponents of the species qua individuals thesis individuate species through their unique evolutionary origin. Individuals, or spatio-temporally located particulars in general, can be bodies, objects, events, or processes, or a combination of these. It is here argued that species are best understood as open or closed, causally integrated processual systems that also instantiate an historically conditioned homeostatic property cluster natural kind.


Species Systems Presentism Eternalism Endurance Perdurance Futuralism 



I thank Rasmus Winther, Francisco Vergara-Silva, and Ingo Brigandt who read an earlier draft of this paper, offering much helpful advice and criticism.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of GeologyThe Field MuseumChicagoUSA

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