Deep Conventionalism about Evolutionary Groups

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Barker, Matthew J.; Velasco, Joel D.
conference paper description
We argue for a new conventionalism about many kinds of evolutionary groups, including clades, cohesive units, and populations. This rejects a consensus, which says that given any one of the many legitimate grouping concepts, only objective biological facts determine whether a collection is such a group. Surprisingly, being any one kind of evolutionary group typically depends on which of many incompatible values are taken by suppressed variables. This is a novel pluralism underlying most any one group concept, rather than a familiar pluralism claiming many concepts are legitimate. Consequently, we must help biological facts determine grouphood, even when given a single grouping concept.