Ideas from 'Resurrecting Biological Essentialism' by Michael Devitt [2008], by Theme Structure

[found in 'Putting Metaphysics First' by Devitt,Michael [OUP 2010,978-0-19-957697-5]].

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9. Objects / D. Essence of Objects / 10. Essence as Species
Essentialism concerns the nature of a group, not its category
                        Full Idea: Essentialism is concerned with the nature of a group, whatever the category it falls under.
                        From: Michael Devitt (Resurrecting Biological Essentialism [2008], 6)
                        A reaction: This seems to me such a simple and obvious point that I am amazed that anyone rejects it, yet lots of people seem to think that an essence is just some sort of category.
Things that gradually change, like species, can still have essences
                        Full Idea: An intrinsic essence does not have to be 'neat and tidy'. ...Essentialism can accept the gradual change of one thing into another.
                        From: Michael Devitt (Resurrecting Biological Essentialism [2008], 11)
                        A reaction: My thesis is that essentialism is a response to the needs of explanation, so as long as there is some core explanation to be found, even in something transitory, then the concept of an essence can apply to it.
27. Natural Reality / F. Biology / 5. Species
We name species as small to share properties, but large enough to yield generalisations
                        Full Idea: Our explanatory purposes in introducing a name for a species demand that we draw the lines around a group that is small enough to share a whole lot of important properties and large enough to yield broad generalizations.
                        From: Michael Devitt (Resurrecting Biological Essentialism [2008], 10 'Arb')
                        A reaction: Grist to my mill. In this reaction slot (16th Oct 2013) I launch my new metaphysical school - welcome to EXPLANATIONISM! Folk metaphysics, and the best philosophical metaphysics, is entirely driven by the needs of explanation.
Species are phenetic, biological, niche, or phylogenetic-cladistic
                        Full Idea: The four main concepts of a species are 'phenetic' (similarity of traits), 'biological species' (interbreeding and isolated), 'ecological niche' (occupying an adaptive zone), or 'phylogenetic-cladistic' (start and finish at splits in lineage)
                        From: report of Michael Devitt (Resurrecting Biological Essentialism [2008], 4) by PG - Db (ideas)
                        A reaction: [my summary of Devitt's list] Devitt attacks the whole lot, in favour of essentialism - the species being fixed by its underlying explanatory mechanisms.