Pre-Darwinian Taxonomy and Essentialism – A Reply to MaryWinsor

Abstract

Mary Winsor (2003) argues against the received view that pre-Darwinian taxonomy was characterized mainly by essentialism. She argues, instead, that the methods of pre-Darwinian taxonomists, in spite of whatever their beliefs, were that of clusterists, so that the received view, propagated mainly by certain modern biologists and philosophers of biology, should at last be put to rest as a myth. I argue that shes right when it comes to higher taxa, but wrong when it comes the most important category of all, the species category.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

References

  1. L. Agassiz (1859) Essay on Classification, Longman, Brown, Green, Longmans and Roberts, London. Reprinted 1962 Edward Lurie (Eds) Harvard University Press Harvard University Press Cambridge

    Google Scholar 

  2. L. Agassiz (1860) ArticleTitleOn the Origin of Species American Journal of Science and Arts 30 (2d ser.) 142–154

    Google Scholar 

  3. G. Bentham (1861) ArticleTitleOn the Species and Genera of Plants, Considered with Reference to Their Practical Application to Systematic Botany Natural History Review 1 133–151

    Google Scholar 

  4. F. Burkhardt S. Smith (1987) The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, Volume 3, 1844–1846 Cambridge University Press Cambridge

    Google Scholar 

  5. F. Burkhardt S. Smith (1988) The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, Volume 4, 1847–1850 Cambridge University Press Cambridge

    Google Scholar 

  6. F. Burkhardt S. Smith (1991) The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, Volume 7, 1858–1859 Cambridge University Press Cambridge

    Google Scholar 

  7. R.W. Burkhardt SuffixJr (1987) Lamarck and Species J. Roger J.-L. Fischer (Eds) Histoire du Concept d’Espéce dans les Sciences de la Vie Éditions de la Fondation Singer-Polignac Paris 161–180

    Google Scholar 

  8. W. Coleman (1962) ArticleTitleLyell and the Reality of Species: 1830–1833 Isis 53 325–338 Occurrence Handle10.1086/349595

    Article  Google Scholar 

  9. J.D. Dana (1857) ArticleTitleThoughts on Species American Journal of Science and Arts 24 (2d ser.) 303–316

    Google Scholar 

  10. C. Darwin (1859) On the Origin of Species John Murray London

    Google Scholar 

  11. J. Dewey (1910) The Influence of Darwin on Philosophy and Other Essays H. Holt and Co New York

    Google Scholar 

  12. A. Ellegård (1958) Darwin and the General Reader: The Reception of Darwin’s Theory of Evolution in the British Periodical Press, 1859–1872, Almqvist and Wiksell, Stockholm. Reprinted 1990. University of Chicago Press Chicago

    Google Scholar 

  13. P.L. Farber (1976) ArticleTitleThe Type-Concept in Zoology during the First Half of the Nineteenth Century Journal of the History of Biology 9 93–119 Occurrence Handle10.1007/BF00129174

    Article  Google Scholar 

  14. J.L. Larson (1968) ArticleTitleThe Species Concept of Linnaeus Isis 59 291–299 Occurrence Handle10.1086/350398

    Article  Google Scholar 

  15. A. Leikola (1987) The Development of the Species Concept in the Thinking of Linnaeus J. Roger J.L. Fischer (Eds) Histoire du Concept d’Espèce dans les Sciences de la Vie, Éditions de la Fondation Singer-Polignac Paris 45–59

    Google Scholar 

  16. A.O. Lovejoy (1936) The Great Chain of Being: A Study of the History of an Idea Harvard University Press Cambridge

    Google Scholar 

  17. C. Lyell (1832) Principles of Geology, Second edition John Murray London

    Google Scholar 

  18. G.R. McOuat (1996) ArticleTitleSpecies, Rules and Meaning The Politics of Language and the Ends of Definitions in 19th Century Natural History Studies in the History and Philosophy of Science 27 473–519 Occurrence Handle10.1016/0039-3681(95)00060-7 Occurrence Handle1:STN:280:DC%2BD3MrotFejtQ%3D%3D

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  19. J.C. Prichard (1813) Researches Into the Physical History of Man John and Arthur Arch London

    Google Scholar 

  20. J. Ramsbottom (1938) ArticleTitleLinnaeus and the Species Concept Proceedings of the Linnean Society of London (May 24) 192–219

    Google Scholar 

  21. E. Sober (1980) ArticleTitleEvolution, Population Thinking, and Essentialism Philosophy of Science 47 350–383 Occurrence Handle10.1086/288942

    Article  Google Scholar 

  22. D.N. Stamos (1998) ArticleTitleBuffon, Darwin, and the Non-Individuality of Species – A Reply to Jean Gayon Biology & Philosophy 13 443–470

    Google Scholar 

  23. D.N. Stamos (2003) The Species Problem: Biological Species, Ontology, and the Metaphysics of Biology Lexington Books Lanham, MD

    Google Scholar 

  24. P.F. Stevens (1994) The Development of Biological Systematics: Antoine-Laurent de Jussieu, Nature, and the Natural System Columbia University Press New York

    Google Scholar 

  25. P.F. Stevens (1997) ArticleTitleJ.D. Hooker, George Bentham, Asa Gray and Ferdinand Mueller on Species Limits and Practice: A Mid-Nineteenth-Century Debate and Its Repercussions Historical Records of Australian Science 11 345–370

    Google Scholar 

  26. H.E. Strickland (1837) ArticleTitleRules for Zoological Nomenclature Magazine of Natural History 1 173–176

    Google Scholar 

  27. P.F. Stevens (1842) ArticleTitleReport of a Committee Appointed to Consider of the Rules by Which the Nomenclature of Zoology may be Established on a Uniform and Permanent Basis British Association for the Advancement of Science (London) 1842 105–121

    Google Scholar 

  28. A.R. Wallace (1858) On the Tendency of Varieties to Depart Indefinitely from the Original Type P.H. Barrett (Eds) 1977), The Collected Papers of Charles Darwin University of Chicago Press Chicago 10–18

    Google Scholar 

  29. H.C. Watson (1845) ArticleTitleReport of an Experiment Which Bears Upon the Specific Identity of the Cowslip and Primrose The Phytologist 2 217–219

    Google Scholar 

  30. S. Wilberforce (1860) ArticleTitleOn the Origin of Species Quarterly Review 108 225–264

    Google Scholar 

  31. M.P. Winsor (2003) ArticleTitleNon-Essentialist Methods in Pre-Darwinian Taxonomy Biology & Philosophy 18 387–400

    Google Scholar 

  32. Wollaston T.V. (1860) ArticleTitleOn the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection Annals and Magazine of Natural History 5(3d ser.) 132–143

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to David N. Stamos.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Stamos, D.N. Pre-Darwinian Taxonomy and Essentialism – A Reply to MaryWinsor. Biol Philos 20, 79–96 (2005). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10539-005-0401-9

Download citation

Keywords

  • cluster classes
  • essentialism
  • history
  • species
  • taxonomy
  • Winsor