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Biological Classification
A Philosophical Introduction

Part of Cambridge Introductions to Philosophy and Biology

  • Date Published: September 2016
  • availability: This ISBN is for an eBook version which is distributed on our behalf by a third party.
  • format: Adobe eBook Reader
  • isbn: 9781316944295

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About the Authors
  • Modern biological classification is based on the system developed by Linnaeus, and interpreted by Darwin as representing the tree of life. But despite its widespread acceptance, the evolutionary interpretation has some problems and limitations. This comprehensive book provides a single resource for understanding all the main philosophical issues and controversies about biological classification. It surveys the history of biological classification from Aristotle to contemporary phylogenetics and shows how modern biological classification has developed and changed over time. Readers will also be able to see how biological classification is in part a consequence of human psychology, language development and culture. The book will be valuable for student readers and others interested in a range of topics in philosophy and biology.

    • Comprehensive, covering all the main philosophical issues in biological classification
    • Includes a survey of the history of biological classification from Aristotle to the present
    • Naturalistic, in the sense that it begins with what the sciences tell us about the cultural, psychological and linguistic foundations of biological classification
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    Reviews & endorsements

    '… an excellent work in the contemporary philosophy of biology …' CHOICE

    'Richards' book offers the balanced, veteran synopticism one expects from an introduction, but also some bright surprises.' Phillip Honenberger, Metascience

    'Though many have dismissed biological classification as mere stamp collecting, Richards' introduction shows that it is an important and philosophically demanding area of science. This work is valuable for those new to the topic, and for those coming at it from only one side.' Justin Bzovy, The Philosophical Quarterly

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    Product details

    • Date Published: September 2016
    • format: Adobe eBook Reader
    • isbn: 9781316944295
    • contains: 13 b/w illus.
    • availability: This ISBN is for an eBook version which is distributed on our behalf by a third party.
  • Table of Contents

    1. Why classify?
    2. The Aristotelian framework
    3. The Darwinian pivot
    4. Evolutionary taxonomy and the Cladistic challenge
    5. The tree of life
    6. The species problem
    7. The metaphysics of biological classification
    8. Theory and the world
    9. The essential tension.

  • Author

    Richard A. Richards, University of Alabama
    Richard A. Richards is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Alabama. His publications include The Species Problem (Cambridge, 2010) and many journal articles.

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