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Aristotelian Essentialism: Essence in the Age of Evolution

Austin, Christopher J. (2016) Aristotelian Essentialism: Essence in the Age of Evolution. [Preprint]

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Abstract

The advent of contemporary evolutionary theory ushered in the eventual decline of Aristotelian Essentialism (Æ) – for it is widely assumed that essence does not, and cannot have any proper place in the age of evolution. This paper argues that this assumption is a mistake: if Æ can be suitably evolved, it need not face extinction. In it, I claim that if that theory’s fundamental ontology consists of dispositional properties, and if its characteristic metaphysical machinery is interpreted within the framework of contemporary evolutionary developmental biology, an evolved essentialism is available. The reformulated theory of Æ offered in this paper not only fails to fall prey to the typical collection of criticisms, but is also independently both theoretically and empirically plausible. The paper contends that, properly understood, essence belongs in the age of evolution.


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Item Type: Preprint
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Austin, Christopher J.Christopherja@gmail.com
Keywords: Essentialism; Evo-Devo; Dispositions; Natural Kinds
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Biology
Specific Sciences > Biology > Developmental Biology
Specific Sciences > Biology > Evolutionary Theory
Specific Sciences > Biology > Function/Teleology
Specific Sciences > Biology > Molecular Biology/Genetics
General Issues > History of Philosophy of Science
General Issues > Reductionism/Holism
Depositing User: Dr. Christopher J. Austin
Date Deposited: 10 Mar 2016 21:54
Last Modified: 10 Mar 2016 21:54
Item ID: 11961
DOI or Unique Handle: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11229-016-1066-4
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Biology
Specific Sciences > Biology > Developmental Biology
Specific Sciences > Biology > Evolutionary Theory
Specific Sciences > Biology > Function/Teleology
Specific Sciences > Biology > Molecular Biology/Genetics
General Issues > History of Philosophy of Science
General Issues > Reductionism/Holism
Date: 2016
URI: https://philsci-archive-dev.library.pitt.edu/id/eprint/11961

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