"The assumptions of population are diametrically opposed to those of the
typologist. The populationist stresses th uniqueness of everything in the
organic world. What is true for the human species, that no two individuals
are alike, is equally true for all other species of animals and plants...
All organisms and organic phenomena are composed of unique features and can
be described collectively only in statistical terms. Individuals, or any kind
of organic entities, form populations of which we can determine the
arithmetic mean and the statistics of variation. Averages are merely
statistical abstractions; only the individuals of which the populations are
composed have any reality. the ultimate conclusions of the population
thinker and the typologist are precisely the opposite. For the typologist,
the type (eidos) is real and the variation an illusion, while for the
populationist the type (average) is an abstraction and only the variation is
real. No two ways of looking at nature could be more different. (Mayr, 1959b)"
Quoted in Mayr (1967: 1970, pp.4-5)
Mayr identifies the positions of typologist and populationist with those of
essentialist and non-essentialist (1997).
Criticisms of biology that classify biology as essentialist must take Mayr's
identification into account. (Dennett also makes a similar distinction)
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