Marc Ereshefsky

Department of Philosophy
of Calgary
Calgary, Alberta T2N 1N4


(403) 220-3162





Current Research
Graduate Students
Course Info


Marc earned a B.A. in Philosophy at the University of California, Berkeley and a Ph.D. in Philosophy at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. His Ph.D. advisor was Elliott Sober. After completing his Ph.D. he held a post-doctorate fellowship at Northwestern University under the supervision of David Hull, and then a Mellon post-doctorate fellow at Washington University in St. Louis. In 1991 he moved to the University of Calgary where he is now professor of philosophy.




The Units of Evolution: Essays on the Nature of Species, edited with introductory essays for Bradford Books / MIT Press 1992.


The Poverty of the Linnaean Hierarchy: A Philosophical Study of Biological Taxonomy. Cambridge University Press 2001, 2007.


Articles, Chapters and Entries

1.       "Axiomatics and Individuality: A Reply to Mary Williams' 'Species Are Individuals'." Philosophy of Science, (1988), 55, pp. 427-434.


2.       "Individuality and Macroevolutionary Theory."  In Fine and Leplin (eds.), PSA 1988, (1988), 1, pp. 216-222, Philosophy of Science Association. 


3.       "Where's the Species?: Comments on the Phylogenetic Species Concepts." Biology and Philosophy, (1989), 4, pp. 89-96.


4.       "The Semantic Approach to Evolutionary Theory." Biology and Philosophy, (1991), 5, pp. 7-28.


5.       "Species, Higher Taxa, and the Units of Evolution."  Philosophy of Science, (1991), 58, pp. 84-101.


6.       "Metaphysics and Biological Systematics."  Studies in History and Philosophy of Science, (1991), 22, pp. 525-532.


7.       "The Historical Nature of Evolutionary Theory."  In Nitecki (ed.), History and Evolution, (1992), pp. 81-99, State University of New York Press.


8.       "Eliminative Pluralism."  Philosophy of Science, (1992), 59, pp. 671-690.  Reprinted in D. Hull and M. Ruse (eds.), Philosophy of  BiologyOxford University Press (1998).


9.       "Some Problems with the Linnaean Hierarchy"Philosophy of Science, (1994), 61. pp. 186-205.  


10. "Critical Notice: John Dupre's The Disorder of Things," Canadian Journal of Philosophy, (1995), 25, pp. 143-158


11.   "Pluralism, Normative Naturalism, and Biological Classification."  In Hull and Burian (eds.), PSA 1994, (1995), Volume 2, pp. 382-389. Philosophy of Science Association.


12.   "The Evolution of the Linnaean Hierarchy," Biology and Philosophy (1997), 12, pp. 493-519.


13.   "Species Pluralism and Anti-Realism," Philosophy of Science (1998), 65, pp. 103-120.


14.   "Species and the Linnaean Hierarchy."  In R. Wilson (ed.), Species: New Interdisciplinary Essays," MIT Press, (1999), pp. 285-306.


15.   “Names, Numbers and Indentations: A Guide to Post-Linnaean Taxonomy,” Studies in the History and Philosophy of Biology and Biomedical Sciences  (2001), 32, pp. 361-383.


16.   “Philosophy of Biological Classification.”   In Nature Encyclopedia of Life Sciences, (2001), Nature Publishing Group.  Online version: www.els.net.  Reprinted in Handbook of Plant Science, Keith Roberts (editor), Wiley Publishers (2007)


17.   “Making Normal People.”   In Designing Humans: Planning the Perfect Gene Pool,  (2001), Calgary Institute for the Humanities. 


18.   “Linnaean Hierarchy: Vestiges of a Bygone Era,” Philosophy of Science (2002) 69,  pp. S305-S315.


19.   “Bridging the Gap Between Human Kinds and Biological Kinds,” Philosophy of Science (2004) 71, pp. S912-921.


20.   “The Dynamics of the Linnaean Hierarchy,” Bulletin d’Histoire et d’Epistemologie des Sciences de la Vie (2004) 11, pp. 175-193.


21.   (with Mohan Matthen) “Taxonomy, Polymorphism and History: An Introduction to Population Structure Theory,” Philosophy of Science (2005) 72, pp. 1-21.


22. “Species.”  In the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (2010).  On line version: http://plato.stanford.edu/.


23.   “Species, Taxonomy, and Systematics,”  In The Handbook of Philosophy of Biology, Elsevier Publishing (2007), pp. 403-427. Reprinted in Philosophy of Biology: An Anthology, Rosenberg and

Arp (eds.), Wiley-Blackwell (2009)


24. “Where the Wild Things Are: Environmental Preservation and Human Nature,” Biology and Philosophy (2007) 22, pp. 57-72.


25. “Foundational Issues Concerning Taxa and Taxon Names,” Systematic Biology (2007) 56(2), pp. 295-301.


26. “Psychological Categories as Homologies: Lessons from Ethology,” Biology and Philosophy (2007) 22, pp. 659-674.


27. “Systematics and Taxonomy.”  In The Blackwell Campanion to Philosophy of Biology (2008).


28. “Darwin e la natura delle specie.” In Lorenzo Calabi (ed.) Il futuro di Darwin. La specie,” pp. 3-22. Turin Printing-Publishing Union (2009).


29. “Defining ‘Health’ and ‘Disease’,” Studies in the History and Philosophy of Biology and Biomedical Sciences (2009) 40, pp. 221-227.


30. “Prokaryotic Evolution and the Tree of Life are Two Different Things,” (with Eric Bapteste, Maureen O’Malley, Robert G. Beiko, J. Peter Gogarten, Laura Franklin-Hall, Francois-Joseph Lapointe,

John Dupre, Tal Dagan, Yan Boucher, William Martin), Biology Direct, (2009), 4, doi 10.1186/1745-6150-4-34.


31. “Natural Kinds in Biology,” Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy (2009).


32.Homology: Integrating Phylogeny and Development,” Biological Theory (2009) 4:224-229.


33. “Darwin’s Solution to the Species Problem,” Synthese (2010) 175:405-425.


34. “What’s Wrong with the New Biological Essentialism.” Philosophy of Science (2010), 77:674-685.


35. “Microbiology and the Species Problem.” Biology and Philosophy (2010), 25:553-568.


36. “Mystery of Mysteries: Darwin and the Species Problem.” Cladistics (2011), 27:67-79.


37.  “Concepts in Protistology: Species Definitions and Boundaries,” (with J. Boenigk,K. Hoef-Emden, J. Mallet, and B. Bass), European Journal of Protistology, (2012), 48:96-102.


38.  “Homology Thinking,” Biology and Philosophy, (2012), 27: 381-400.


39.  “Species and Taxonomy,” The Routledge Companion to the Philosophy of Science, 2nd Edition, Curd and Pisllos (eds.) (2013).


40.  Biological Individuality: The Case of Biofilms” (with Makmiller Pedroso), Biology and Philosophy, (2013), 28: 331-349.


41.  Consilience, Historicity, and the Species Problem.” Evolutionary Biology: Conceptual, Ethical, and Religious Issues, edited by Thompson and Walsh, Cambridge University Press , (2014), pp. 65-86.


42. Species, Historicity, and Path Dependency,” Philosophy of Science (2014), 81: 714-726.


43. “Scientific Kinds,” with Thomas Reydon,  Philosophical Studies (2015), 172: 969-986.


44.  “Rethinking Evolutionary Individuality,”with  Makmiller Pedroso.  Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (2015), 112: 10126-10132.


45. “What biofilms can teach us about individuality”  with Makmiller Pedroso, In Individuals across the sciences, Guay and Pradeu (eds.), Oxford University Press (forthcoming).




Issues in philosophy of science, philosophy of biology, metaphysics, and biology.  More specifically, species, natural kinds, scientific classification, individuality, historicity, microbiology, biofilms, homology, health and disease, and naturalism.


Graduate Students

  • Ph.D., Sinan Sincan (in program)
  • Ph.D., Alison Renas (in program)
  • Ph.D., Brandon Holter (Degree Completed, January 2014)
  • Ph.D., Makmiller Pedroso (Degree Completed, October 2012)
  • M.A., Michelle Pham (Degree completed, June 2012)
  • Ph.D., Mike Steiner (Degree completed, September 2011)
  • Ph.D., Travis Dumsday (Degree completed, April 2010)
  • Ph.D., Jennifer Runke  (Degree completed, June 2008)
  • Ph.D., Jesse Hendrikse (Degree completed, October 2005)
  • Ph.D., Jay Odenbaugh (Degree completed, September 2001)
  • Ph.D., David Baumslag  (Degree completed, May 1997)
  • Ph.D., Mohamed El Samahi  (Degree completed, June 1996)
  • M.A., Shari Monner (Degree completed, July 2011)
  • M.A., Sky Coulter (Degree completed, August 2007)
  • M.A., Michael Steiner (Degree Completed, June 2007)
  • M.A., Clement Loo (Degree completed, July 2006)
  • M.A., Shawna Boyle (Degree completed, August 2002)
  • M.A., Jesse Hendrikse (Degree completed, July 1998
  • M.A., Barrett Wolski (Degree completed, July 1994)


Course Information

     Winter 2016

      Philosophy 367: “Science and Philosophy”

      Philosophy 517/667: “Natural Kinds, Classification, and Scientific Practice”