New draft on theories

Fri 07 Sep 2007 08:41 AM

I've wanted to write this paper for quite some time, but the material from different areas has failed to cohere on the previous occasions when I've tried to write it. Now I finally have a complete draft.

What SPECIES can teach us about THEORY

ABSTRACT: This paper argues against the common, often implicit view that theories are some specific kind of thing. Instead, I argue for theory concept pluralism: There are multiple distinct theory concepts which we legitimately use in different domains and for different purposes, and we should not expect this to change. The argument goes by analogy with species concept pluralism, a familiar position in philosophy of biology. I conclude by considering some consequences for philosophy of science if theory concept pluralism is correct.


from: John S. WIlkins

Fri 07 Sep 2007 08:27 PM

I have argued this in

Wilkins, John S. 2003. How to be a chaste species pluralist-realist: The origins of species modes and the Synapomorphic Species Concept. Biology and Philosophy 18:621-638.

and continued the line of argument in

Wilkins, John S. 2007. The dimensions, modes and definitions of species and speciation. Biology and Philosophy 22 (2):247 - 266.

as well as a forthcoming paper in History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences on microbial species.

I am presently preparing a paper on whether species are, in fact, theoretical objects at all, and argue that they are phenomenal objects rather than required by any theory.

Hope this helps.