1st Edition

Species The Evolution of the Idea, Second Edition

By John S. Wilkins Copyright 2018
    427 Pages
    by CRC Press

    428 Pages 20 B/W Illustrations
    by CRC Press

    Over time the complex idea of "species" has evolved, yet its meaning is far from resolved. This comprehensive work is a fresh look at an idea central to the field of biology by tracing its history from antiquity to today. Species is a benchmark exploration and clarification of a concept fundamental to the past, present, and future of the natural sciences. In this edition, a section is added on the debate over species since the time of the New Synthesis, and brings the book up to date. A section on recent philosophical debates over species has also been added. This edition is better suited non-specialists in philosophy, so that it will be of greater use for scientists wishing to understand how the notion came to be that living organisms form species.


    Key Selling Features:

    • Covers the philosophical and historical development of the concept of "species"

    • Documents that variation was recognized by pre-Darwinian scholars

    • Includes a section on the debates since the time of the New Synthesis

    • Better suited to non-philosophers

    Prologue: The Received View. The failure of the Received View. The historical development of “species.” The classical era: Science by division. The medieval bridge. Species and the birth of modern science. The Noah’s Ark part is new, based on my later research. The nineteenth century, a period of change. Darwin and the Darwinians. Non-Darwinian ideas after Darwin. The Synthesis and species. Modern debates. Philosophical treatments.


    John Wilkins PhD is Honorary Fellow at the University of Melbourne, Australia, and Research Fellow at the Ronin Institute, Monclair, NJ. He has taught at the University of Queensland, the University of Sydney, the University of New South Wales, and the University of Melbourne. He is the author of Species: A History of the Idea (2009), and Defining Species (2009), co-author of The Nature of Classification (2013), and edited Intelligent Design and Religion as a Natural Phenomenon (2010). He has published on species, the evolution of religion, cognition, and the history and philosophy of science. He lives in Melbourne Australia.


    "Few topics have engaged biologists and philosophers more than the concept of species, and arguably no idea is more important for evolutionary science. John S. Wilkins' book combines meticulous historical and philosophical analysis and thus provides new insights on the development of this most enduring of subjects."  ―□ Joel Cracraft, American Museum of Natural History

    "This is not the potted history that one usually finds in texts and review articles. It is a fresh look at the history of a field central to biology, but one whose centrality has changed in scope over the centuries. Wilkins' book will be a standard source for all kinds of people working in systematics. There is not another book on the subject, amazingly enough, and his perspective is so comprehensive and well-taught that it will replace any standard review articles and older histories."  ―□ Kevin Padian, University of California, Berkeley

    "An essential sourcebook for anyone interested in the species problem and the history of 'species.' Wilkins does a wonderful job detangling the various uses of 'species.' His book brings clarity to a topic marked by confusion and ambiguity." ―□ Marc Ereshefsky, author of The Poverty of Linnaean Hierarchy: A Philosophical Study of Biological Taxonomy

    "The most comprehensive, encyclopedic account of the history of the thinking about species. . . . Truly impressive.” ―□Science & Education Published On: 2012-04-10

    "The most comprehensive work of its kind. It will appeal to students in a diverse set of disciplines. . . . Highly recommended.” ―□Choice Published On: 2010-07-08

    “Provides a comprehensive and interesting synthesis of the species problem today in the context of changing ideologies through history.” ―□Journal Of Human Evolution Blog Published On: 2010-07-06

    “Provides a thorough background in this important topic. . . . A valuable resource.” ―□Nsta Recommends Published On: 2009-12-09

    “A useful source for literature, ideas, and history of the topic.” -- James Mallet ―□Integrative & Comparative Bio (Sicb) Published On: 2010-07-23

    “No other book provides this kind of comprehensive, historical account of the thinking about species. As reference work, this book is impressive." ―□Int’l History, Philosophy, & Science Teaching Group Newsletter Published On: 2012-04-23

    “Provides an encyclopedic history of the idea of species from Plato to the present.” ―□Darwinian Conservatism Blog Published On: 2009-09-17

    “[A] congenial book.” ―□Oxford Journal Published On: 2011-04-12

    "It is difficult to find anything to dislike about Wilkins’s study. The breadth of the work is staggering, and the amount of research that went into its discussion of every major intellectual figure and conceptual player in the species debates from Plato onward is readily apparent at every turn." -- Charles H. Pence ―□Evolution: Education and Outreach Published On: 2014-09-09