Title
Population thinking as trope nominalism Population thinking as trope nominalism
Author
Faculty/Department
Faculty of Arts. Philosophy
Publication type
article
Publication
Dordrecht ,
Subject
Philosophy
Source (journal)
Synthese : an international journal for epistemology, methodology and philosophy of science. - Dordrecht, 1936, currens
Volume/pages
177(2010) :1 , p. 91-109
ISSN
0039-7857
ISI
000283762400005
Carrier
E
Target language
English (eng)
Full text (Publishers DOI)
Affiliation
University of Antwerp
Abstract
The concept of population thinking was introduced by Ernst Mayr as the right way of thinking about the biological domain, but it is difficult to find an interpretation of this notion that is both unproblematic and does the theoretical work it was intended to do. I argue that, properly conceived, Mayrs population thinking is a version of trope nominalism: the view that biological property-types do not exist or at least they play no explanatory role. Further, although population thinking has been traditionally used to argue against essentialism about biological kinds, recently it has been suggested that it may be consistent with at least some forms of essentialismones that construe essential properties as relational. I argue that if population thinking is a version of trope nominalism, then, as Mayr originally claimed, it rules out any version of essentialism about biological kinds.
E-info
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