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 (2016), pp. 103-121.




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., Soohyun Ahn (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

     Fall 2016:  On Sabbatical

     Winter 2017: A seminar on Scientific Practice, co-taught with Ken Waters