Book Chapter

The Good Species

John Wilkins

Species Problems and Beyond: Contemporary Issues in Philosophy and Practice | CRC Press | Published : 2022


Much of the species problem lies in trying to find necessary and sufficient theoretical criteria for both their explanation and delimitation. I argue in this chapter that species are instead “operative concepts”, built up by the collective experience and context of subdisciplines of systematics as the field develops, relying on assays and criteria that make a putative taxon a “good species”. I reiterate my view that species are phenomena that stand in need of explanation, and that the category itself is so polysemic, because of the haphazard way the concept develops in the various specialties’ history, that it is merely an epistemic notion.