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Academic & Professional Books  History & Other Humanities  Philosophy, Ethics & Religion

Biological Classification A Philosophical Introduction

By: Richard A Richards(Author)
302 pages, 13 b/w illustrations
Biological Classification
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  • Biological Classification ISBN: 9781107687844 Paperback Sep 2016 Usually dispatched within 5 days
  • Biological Classification ISBN: 9781107065376 Hardback Sep 2016 Usually dispatched within 5 days
Selected version: £71.99
About this book Contents Customer reviews Biography Related titles

About this book

Modern biological classification is based on the system developed by Linnaeus, and interpreted by Darwin as representing the tree of life. But despite its widespread acceptance, the evolutionary interpretation has some problems and limitations. This comprehensive book provides a single resource for understanding all the main philosophical issues and controversies about biological classification. It surveys the history of biological classification from Aristotle to contemporary phylogenetics and shows how modern biological classification has developed and changed over time. Readers will also be able to see how biological classification is in part a consequence of human psychology, language development and culture. Biological Classification will be valuable for student readers and others interested in a range of topics in philosophy and biology.


1. Why classify?
2. The Aristotelian framework
3. The Darwinian pivot
4. Evolutionary taxonomy and the Cladistic challenge
5. The tree of life
6. The species problem
7. The metaphysics of biological classification
8. Theory and the world
9. The essential tension

Customer Reviews


Richard Richards is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Alabama. His publications include The Species Problem (2010) and many journal articles.

By: Richard A Richards(Author)
302 pages, 13 b/w illustrations
Media reviews

"[...] an excellent work in the contemporary philosophy of biology [...]"

"Richards' book offers the balanced, veteran synopticism one expects from an introduction, but also some bright surprises."
– Phillip Honenberger, Metascience

"Though many have dismissed biological classification as mere stamp collecting, Richards' introduction shows that it is an important and philosophically demanding area of science. This work is valuable for those new to the topic, and for those coming at it from only one side."
– Justin Bzovy, The Philosophical Quarterly

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