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SpeciesA History of the Idea$
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John Wilkins and Daniel Doak

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780520260856

Published to California Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520260856.001.0001

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The Medieval Bridge

The Medieval Bridge

Chapter:
(p.34) (p.35) The Medieval Bridge
Source:
Species
Author(s):

John S. Wilkins

Publisher:
University of California Press
DOI:10.1525/california/9780520260856.003.0002

This chapter discusses the biological species concepts debates during the medieval period. The period was characterized by a revival of the universals debate and nominalist school. The nominalists rejected the view that universals are real things that exist apart from the substance of the things that are within them. William of Ockham, the most influential nominalist, claims that logical species are just a way to recollect similar individuals already encountered, and a general term cannot be abstracted from a single individual, but only a number of individuals encountered. The chapter also discusses the development of herbals and bestiaries, both of which were precursors to biological classification.

Keywords:   species, medieval period, universals, nominalists, William of Ockham, logical species, herbals, bestiaries

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