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Acta Biotheoretica

, Volume 65, Issue 3, pp 179–209 | Cite as

What do Biologists Make of the Species Problem?

  • Bruno Pušić
  • Pavel Gregorić
  • Damjan FranjevićEmail author
Regular Article

Abstract

The concept of species is one of the core concepts in biology and one of the cornerstones of evolutionary biology, yet it is rife with conceptual problems. Philosophers of biology have been discussing the concept of species for decades, and in doing so they sometimes appeal to the views of biologists. However, their statements as to what biologists think are seldom supported by empirical data. In order to investigate what biologists actually think about the key issues related to the problem of species, we have conducted a survey on the sample of 193 biologists from the population of biologists from over 150 biology departments at universities in the US and the EU. This article presents and discusses the results of the survey. Some results confirm and others falsify the reiterated statements of philosophers of biology as to what biologists think, but all results we obtained should be informative and relevant for future discussions of the problem of species.

Keywords

Species concept Unit of evolution Problem of universals Ontological status of species 

Notes

Acknowledgements

We would like to express our gratitude to Prof. Marija Brajdić Vuković for her invaluable help with methodological issues. We would also like to thank the keen examiners of Bruno Pušić's PhD dissertation on which this article is based—Prof. Tomislav Bracanović, Prof. Sven Jelaska and Dr. Boris Kožnjak.

Supplementary material

10441_2017_9311_MOESM1_ESM.docx (6 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 5 kb)

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bruno Pušić
    • 1
  • Pavel Gregorić
    • 1
  • Damjan Franjević
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Philosophy, Centre for Croatian StudiesUniversity of ZagrebZagrebCroatia
  2. 2.Department of Biology, Faculty of ScienceUniversity of ZagrebZagrebCroatia

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