Evolving Thoughts

I have a book forthcoming, Species definitions: a sourcebook from antiquity to today, which gives and commentates definitions of “species” in logic and biology for 2,500 years, from Plato to Templeton and beyond. It’s designed as a reader for scholars to see how the notion[s] have evolved separately in the logical definitional sense – for Aristotle, eidos, which we translate as “form”, “species”, and “kind”, was a logical term, not a biological one, which had to wait until the 16th century, and even then they were distinct notions.

I argue in the commentaries that there was nothing essentialist about the use of “species” in natural history and the later biology. And that type does not equal essence. And that fixism of species was motivated by piety rather than logic or metaphysics. I thereby offend a number of friends, but that’s life.

Keep an eye on the catalogue for Peter Lang publishers. It’ll probably be about US$50


  1. #1 coturnix
    August 15, 2007

    Woot! This will be purchased as soon as it is available!

  2. #2 KiwiInOz
    August 15, 2007

    Excellent. I look forward to reading your copy (US$50!!!).

  3. #3 Neil
    August 15, 2007

    Congratulations. Peter Lang published my first book.

  4. #4 Bob O'H
    August 15, 2007

    Congratulations – at last! I’ll definitely purchase a copy too.

    I see the title has changed, though. A pity: I preferred the old title (I’m assuming it is your Origins book).


  5. #5 John Wilkins
    August 15, 2007

    The old title is still live for the narrative book. [Copyright assertion: The Origin of Species Conceptions.]

  6. #6 John Pieret
    August 15, 2007

    Excellent! Take 100 kudos out of the U of E’s petty cash … if you ever find the treasurer and the research yacht …

    Now, about getting signed copies of the book …

  7. #7 jeff
    August 15, 2007

    Could be the start of a paradigm shift.

  8. #8 razib
    August 15, 2007

    congratz! do post again when it shows up on US amazon, i am happy to post on this and place a link so it can drive some purchases.

  9. #9 Ian H Spedding
    August 15, 2007

    Congratulations! Is this a magnum opus along the lines of The Structure of Evolutionary Theory? Have you sold the movie rights yet?

  10. #10 John Wilkins
    August 15, 2007

    Well it has lots of characters, but the plot is a bit murky, so I doubt even Robert Altman would be willing to film it.

  11. #11 Chris' Wills
    August 15, 2007

    Hopefully it isn’t too scholarly, then again at only US$50 I’ll take the risk when it appears on Amazon.

  12. #12 Ian Musgrave
    August 15, 2007

    Yay! Congratulations John.

  13. #13 PZ Myers
    August 15, 2007

    Have you told your publisher that they must send a review copy to PZ Mer…Moz…Mai … oh heck, the guy who has that Far…Phur.. Phrynuglya …

    Crap. There’s no way a review copy would ever find its way here, is there? Might as well tie one to an African Swallow’s leg and send it off.

  14. #14 Thony C.
    August 15, 2007

    so I doubt even Robert Altman would be willing to film it.

    Unfortunately the genial Mr Altman is no longer with us.

  15. #15 John Farrell
    August 15, 2007

    Looking forward to it. I imagine there will be a paragraph or two on Gilson the neo-Thomists.


  16. #16 John Wilkins
    August 15, 2007

    Although the neo-Thomists play a role in the construction of the essentialist myth, indirectly, they do not, so far as I have encountered, define what species are. So they don’t get mentioned.

    Dear Dr Marzipan, I will send a native bearer with a copy of the book to your Pharnuggles office. I’d need at least two African swallows, each holding it by the husk, to carry it via airmail. Anyway, I strongly suspect Australian airmail is routed via Inner Mongolia, the Congo, and Tierra del Feugia, so it might be best to just have it sent from the US.

    But given the vagaries of book production schedules, I doubt we’ll see a physical copy for a while yet.

  17. #17 Laelaps
    August 16, 2007

    Congratulations! I’ll definitely be picking this one up when it comes out.

  18. #18 Gary Bohn
    August 16, 2007

    Congratulations John. I know you put a fair effort into the book.

    I hope you remember all of the little people when you become a best selling author.;)

  19. #19 Kevin Z
    August 17, 2007

    Just in time for me to study for my comps!

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