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  1. Denis Alexander & Ronald L. Numbers (eds.) (2010). Biology and Ideology From Descartes to Dawkins. The University of Chicago Press.
    An accessible survey, this collection will enlighten historians of science, their students, practicing scientists, and anyone interested in the relationship ...
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  2. Leandro Assis & Ingo Brigandt (2009). Homology: Homeostatic Property Cluster Kinds in Systematics and Evolution. Evolutionary Biology 36:248-255.
    Taxa and homologues can in our view be construed both as kinds and as individuals. However, the conceptualization of taxa as natural kinds in the sense of homeostatic property cluster kinds has been criticized by some systematists, as it seems that even such kinds cannot evolve due to their being homeostatic. We reply by arguing that the treatment of transformational and taxic homologies, respectively, as dynamic and static aspects of the same homeostatic property cluster kind represents a good perspective for (...)
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  3. Scott Atran (1998). Folk Biology and the Anthropology of Science: Cognitive Universals and Cultural Particulars. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 21 (4):547-569.
    This essay in the is about how cognition constrains culture in producing science. The example is folk biology, whose cultural recurrence issues from the very same domain-specific cognitive universals that provide the historical backbone of systematic biology. Humans everywhere think about plants and animals in highly structured ways. People have similar folk-biological taxonomies composed of essence-based, species-like groups and the ranking of species into lower- and higher-order groups. Such taxonomies are not as arbitrary in structure and content, nor as variable (...)
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  4. Scott Atran (1998). Taxonomic Ranks, Generic Species, and Core Memes. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 21 (4):593-604.
    The target article contains a number of distinct but interrelated claims about the cognitive nature of folk biology based in part on cross-cultural work with urbanized Americans and forest-dwelling Maya Indians. Folk biology consists universally of a ranked taxonomy centered on essence-based generic species. This taxonomy is domain-specific, perhaps an innately determined evolutionary adaptation. Folk biology also plays a special role in cultural evolution in general, and in the development of Western biological science in particular. Even in our culture, however, (...)
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  5. Robert Aunger & Valerie Curtis (2008). Kinds of Behaviour. Biology and Philosophy 23 (3):317-345.
    Sciences able to identify appropriate analytical units for their domain, their natural kinds, have tended to be more progressive. In the biological sciences, evolutionary natural kinds are adaptations that can be identified by their common history of selection for some function. Human brains are the product of an evolutionary history of selection for component systems which produced behaviours that gave adaptive advantage to their hosts. These structures, behaviour production systems, are the natural kinds that psychology seeks. We argue these can (...)
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  6. Theodore Bach (2012). Gender Is a Natural Kind with a Historical Essence. Ethics 122 (2):231-272.
    Traditional debate on the metaphysics of gender has been a contrast of essentialist and social-constructionist positions. The standard reaction to this opposition is that neither position alone has the theoretical resources required to satisfy an equitable politics. This has caused a number of theorists to suggest ways in which gender is unified on the basis of social rather than biological characteristics but is “real” or “objective” nonetheless – a position I term social objectivism. This essay begins by making explicit the (...)
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  7. Tudor Baetu (forthcoming). Defining Species: A Multi-Level Approach. Acta Biotheoretica.
    Abstract Different concepts define species at the pattern-level grouping of organisms into discrete clusters, the level of the processes operating within and between populations leading to the formation and maintenance of these clusters, or the level of the inner-organismic genetic and molecular mechanisms that contribute to species cohesion or promote speciation. I argue that, unlike single-level approaches, a multi-level framework takes into account the complex sequences of cause-effect reinforcements leading to the formation and maintenance of various patterns, and allows for (...)
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  8. Matthew J. Barker & Joel D. Velasco (2014). Deep Conventionalism About Evolutionary Groups. Philosophy of Science 80 (5):971-982.
    We reject a widespread objectivism about kinds of evolutionary groups in favor of a new conventionalism. Surprisingly, being any one kind of evolutionary group typically depends on which of many incompatible values are taken by suppressed variables. This novel pluralism underlies almost any single evolutionary group concept, unlike familiar pluralisms claiming that multiple concepts of certain sorts are legitimate. Consequently, we must help objective facts determine which candidate evolutionary groups satisfy the definition of a given evolutionary group concept, regardless of (...)
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  9. Jordan Bartol (forthcoming). Biochemical Kinds. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science.
    Chemical kinds (e.g. gold) are generally treated as having timelessly fixed identities. Biological kinds (e.g. goldfinches) are generally treated as evolved and/or evolving entities. So what kind of kind is a biochemical kind? This paper defends the thesis that biochemical molecules are clustered chemical kinds, some of which–namely, evolutionarily conserved units–are also biological kinds.On this thesis, a number of difficulties that have recently occupied philosophers concerned with proteins and kinds are shown to be resolved or dissolved.
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  10. Ann-Sophie Barwich (2013). A Pluralist Approach to Extension: The Role of Materiality in Scientific Practice for the Reference of Natural Kind Terms. Biological Theory 7 (2):100-108.
    This article argues for a different outlook on the concept of extension, especially for the reference of general terms in scientific practice. Scientific realist interpretations of the two predominant theories of meaning, namely Descriptivism and Causal Theory, contend that a stable cluster of descriptions or an initial baptism fixes the extension of a general term such as a natural kind term. This view in which the meaning of general terms is presented as monosemantic and the referents as stable, homogeneous, and (...)
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  11. Ann-Sophie Barwich & Alba Amilburu (2012). Bridging Disciplines? An Inquiry on the Future of Natural Kinds in Philosophy and the Life Sciences: Natural Kinds in Philosophy and in the Life Sciences: Scholastic Twilight or New Dawn? Granada, Spain, 7–9 September 2011 (Meeting Report). [REVIEW] Biological Theory 6 (2):187-190.
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  12. Ann-Sophie Barwich & Alba Amilburu (2011). Bridging Disciplines? An Inquiry on the Future of Natural Kinds in Philosophy and the Life Sciences. Biological Theory 6 (2):187-190.
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  13. Corine Besson (2012). Empty Natural Kind Terms and Dry-Earth. Erkenntnis 76 (3):403-425.
    This paper considers the problem of assigning meanings to empty natural kind terms. It does so in the context of the Twin-Earth externalist-internalist debate about whether the meanings of natural kind terms are individuated by the external physical environment of the speakers using these terms. The paper clarifies and outlines the different ways in which meanings could be assigned to empty natural kind terms. And it argues that externalists do not have the semantic resources to assign them meanings. The paper (...)
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  14. Jessica Bolker (2013). The Use of Natural Kinds in Evolutionary Developmental Biology. Biological Theory 7 (2):121-129.
    Evolutionary developmental biologists categorize many different kinds of things, from ontogenetic stages to modules of gene activity. The process of categorization—the establishment of “kinds”—is an implicit part of describing the natural world in consistent, useful ways, and has an essentially practical rather than philosophical basis. Kinds commonly serve one of three purposes: they may function (1) as practical tools for communication; (2) to support prediction and generalization; or (3) as a basis for theoretical discussions. Beyond the minimal requirement that classifications (...)
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  15. Peter J. Bowler (1994). Are the Arthropoda a Natural Group? An Episode in the History of Evolutionary Biology. Journal of the History of Biology 27 (2):177 - 213.
  16. Richard Boyd (1999). Homeostasis, Species, and Higher Taxa. In R. A. Wilson (ed.), Species: New Interdisciplinary Essays. Mit Press. 141-85.
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  17. David Braddon-Mitchell (2005). Conceptual Stability and the Meaning of Natural Kind Terms. Biology and Philosophy 20 (4):859-868.
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  18. Ingo Brigandt (2009). Natural Kinds in Evolution and Systematics: Metaphysical and Epistemological Considerations. Acta Biotheoretica 57:77-97.
    Despite the traditional focus on metaphysical issues in discussions of natural kinds in biology, epistemological considerations are at least as important. By revisiting the debate as to whether taxa are kinds or individuals, I argue that both accounts are metaphysically compatible, but that one or the other approach can be pragmatically preferable depending on the epistemic context. Recent objections against construing species as homeostatic property cluster kinds are also addressed. The second part of the paper broadens the perspective by considering (...)
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  19. Ingo Brigandt (2007). When Traditional Essentialism Fails. Philosophical Topics 35 (1/2):189-215.
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  20. Cameron Buckner (2013). A Property Cluster Theory of Cognition. Philosophical Psychology:1-30.
    Our prominent definitions of cognition are too vague and lack empirical grounding. They have not kept up with recent developments, and cannot bear the weight placed on them across many different debates. I here articulate and defend a more adequate theory. On this theory, behaviors under the control of cognition tend to display a cluster of characteristic properties, a cluster which tends to be absent from behaviors produced by non-cognitive processes. This cluster is reverse-engineered from the empirical tests that comparative (...)
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  21. Joseph Keim Campbell, Michael O'Rourke & Matthew H. Slater (eds.) (2011). Carving Nature at its Joints: Natural Kinds in Metaphysics and Science. Mit Press.
    Are there natural kinds of things around which our theories cut? The essays in this volume offer reflections by a distinguished group of philosophers on a series of intertwined issues in the metaphysics and epistemology of classification.
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  22. Joseph Keim Campbell, Matthew H. Slater & Michael O'Rourke (eds.) (forthcoming). Carving Nature at its Joints. Topics in Contemporary Philosophy, Vol. 8. MIT Press.
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  23. Jeffrey Carr (2009). Aristotle's Use of 'Genos' in Logic, Philosophy, and Science. Peter Lang.
    Introduction -- The common hellenic meaning of "genus" -- The Pollaxos legomena or things said in many ways -- Genus in the explanation of change : the subject and substratum principles -- To what is Aristotle's theory of change a response? : the pre-socratic and platonic background -- Change : the principles of nature in physics I -- A first mention of matter and form -- Genus in the explanation of change : the definition of change -- Aristotle's definition of (...)
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  24. Ricardo Cavicchioli, Paul M. G. Curmi, Neil Saunders & Torsten Thomas (2003). Pathogenic Archaea: Do They Exist? Bioessays 25 (11):1119-1128.
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  25. Christopher Hughes Conn (2002). Locke on Natural Kinds and Essential Properties. Journal of Philosophical Research 27:475-497.
    The two opinions concerning real essences that Locke mentions in III.iii.17 represent competing theories about the way in which naturally occurring objects are divided into species. In this paper I explain what these competing theories amount to, why he denies the theory of kinds that is embodied in the first of these opinions, and how this denial is related to his general critique of essentialism. I argue first, that we cannot meaningfully ask whether Locke accepts the existence of natural kinds, (...)
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  26. Sylvia Culp (1994). Defending Robustness: The Bacterial Mesosome as a Test Case. PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1994:46 - 57.
    Rasmussen (1993) argues that, because electron microscopists did not use robustness and would not have been warranted in using it as a criterion for the reality or the artifactuality of mesosomes, the bacterial mesosome serves as a test case for robustness that it fails. I respond by arguing that a more complete reading of the research literature on the mesosome shows that ultimately the more robust body of data did not support the mesosome and that electron microscopists used and were (...)
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  27. David Davies (2005). Atran's Unnatural Kinds. Croatian Journal of Philosophy 5 (2):345-357.
    Scott Atran has argued that scientific thinking about living things necessarily emerges out of a common-sense structure of ideas which reflects the ways in which humans are constitutionally disposed to think about ‘manifestly perceivable empirical fact’. He maintains that the uniformity in folk-biological taxonomy under diverse socio-cultural learning conditions established by recent ethnobiological research undermines the predominant view that folk classifications of living things are a function of local interests and culture, and he further maintains that such uniformity must be (...)
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  28. Brian K. Davis (2005). Asp‐tRNAAsn: To Be or Not to Be? Bioessays 27 (12):1310-1310.
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  29. Michael Devitt (2008). Resurrecting Biological Essentialism. Philosophy of Science 75 (3):344-382.
    The article defends the doctrine that Linnaean taxa, including species, have essences that are, at least partly, underlying intrinsic, mostly genetic, properties. The consensus among philosophers of biology is that such essentialism is deeply wrong, indeed incompatible with Darwinism. I argue that biological generalizations about the morphology, physiology, and behavior of species require structural explanations that must advert to these essential properties. The objection that, according to current “species concepts,” species are relational is rejected. These concepts are primarily concerned with (...)
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  30. Antonio Diéguez (2013). Life as a Homeostatic Property Cluster. Biological Theory 7 (2):180-186.
    All of the attempts to date to find a set of necessary and sufficient conditions for life, in order to provide an essential definition of life, have failed. We only have at our disposal series of lists that contain diverse characteristics usually found in living beings. Some authors have drawn from this fact the conclusion that life is not a natural kind. It will be argued here that this conclusion is too hasty and that if life is understood as a (...)
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  31. Stephen Dilley (2013). The Evolution of Methodological Naturalism in the Origin of Species. Hopos: The Journal of the International Society for the History of Philosophy of Science 3 (1):20-58.
  32. J. Dupre (2001). In Defence of Classification. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C 32 (2):203-219.
    It has increasingly been recognised that units of biological classification cannot be identified with the units of evolution. After briefly defending the necessity of this distinction I argue, contrary to the prevailing orthodoxy, that species should be treated as the fundamental units of classification and not, therefore, as units of evolution. This perspective fits well with the increasing tendency to reject the search for a monistic basis of classification and embrace a pluralistic and pragmatic account of the species category. It (...)
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  33. John Dupré (2006). Humans and Other Animals. Clarendon Press.
    John Dupré explores the ways in which we categorize animals, including humans, and comes to surprisingly radical conclusions. He opposes the idea that there is only one legitimate way of classifying things in the natural world, the 'scientific' way. The lesson we should learn from Darwin is to reject the idea that each organism has an essence that determines its necessary place in the unique hierarchy of things. Nature is not like that: it is not organized in a single system. (...)
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  34. John Dupré (2004). Human Kinds and Biological Kinds: Some Similarities and Differences. Philosophy of Science 71 (5):892-900.
    This paper compares human diversity with biological diversity generally. Drawing on the pluralistic perspective on biological species defended in earlier work (2002, chs. 3 and 4), I argue that there are useful parallels to be drawn between human and animal kinds, as there are between their respective sources in cultural evolution and evolution generally. This view is developed in opposition to the insistence by sociobiologists and their successors on minimizing the significance of culture. The paper concludes with a discussion of (...)
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  35. John Dupre (2004). Review of Joseph LaPorte, Natural Kinds and Conceptual Change. [REVIEW] Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2004 (6).
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  36. John Dupré (2002). Is 'Natural Kind' a Natural Kind Term? The Monist 85 (1):29-49.
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  37. John Dupré (1993). The Disorder of Things: Metaphysical Foundations of the Disunity of Science. Harvard University Press.
  38. John Dupré (1989). Wilkerson on Natural Kinds. Philosophy 64 (248):248 - 251.
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  39. John Dupré (1981). Natural Kinds and Biological Taxa. Philosophical Review 90 (1):66-90.
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  40. Marc Ereshefsky, Systematic Biology.
    To cite this Article: Ereshefsky, Marc , 'Foundational Issues Concerning Taxa and Taxon Names', Systematic Biology, 56:2, 295 - 301 To link to this article: DOI: 10.1080/10635150701317401 URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10635150701317401..
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  41. Marc Ereshefsky (2010). What's Wrong with the New Biological Essentialism. Philosophy of Science 77 (5):674-685.
    The received view in the philosophy of biology is that biological taxa (species and higher taxa) do not have essences. Recently, some philosophers (Boyd, Devitt, Griffiths, LaPorte, Okasha, and Wilson) have suggested new forms of biological essentialism. They argue that according to these new forms of essentialism, biological taxa do have essences. This article critically evaluates the new biological essentialism. This article’s thesis is that the costs of adopting the new biological essentialism are many, yet the benefits are none, so (...)
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  42. Marc Ereshefsky (2004). Bridging the Gap Between Human Kinds and Biological Kinds. Philosophy of Science 71 (5):912-921.
    Many writers claim that human kinds are significantly different from biological and natural kinds. Some suggest that humans kinds are unique because social structures are essential for the etiology of human kinds. Others argue that human cultural evolution is decidedly different from other forms of evolution. In this paper I suggest that the gulf between humans and our biological relatives is not as wide as some argue. There is a taxonomic difference between human and nonhuman organisms, but such factors as (...)
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  43. Marc Ereshefsky (1994). Pluralism, Normative Naturalism, and Biological Taxonomy. PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1994:382 - 389.
    Several authors have argued for taxonomic pluralism in biology -the position that there is a plurality of equally legitimate classifications of the organic world. Others have objected that such pluralism boils down to a position of anything goes. This paper offers a response to the anything goes objection by showing how one can be a discerning pluralist. In particular, methodological standards for choosing taxonomic projects are derived using Laudan's normative naturalism. This paper also sheds light on why taxonomic pluralism (...)
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  44. Marc Ereshefsky (1994). Some Problems with the Linnaean Hierarchy. Philosophy of Science 61 (2):186-205.
    Most biologists use the Linnaean system for constructing classifications of the organic world. The Linnaean system, however, has lost its theoretical basis due to the shift in biology from creationist and essentialist tenets to evolutionary theory. As a result, the Linnaean system is both cumbersome and ontologically vacuous. This paper illustrates the problems facing the Linnaean system, and ends with a brief introduction to an alternative approach to biological classification.
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  45. Marc Ereshefsky & Mohan Matthen (2005). Taxonomy, Polymorphism, and History: An Introduction to Population Structure Theory. Philosophy of Science 72 (1):1-21.
    Homeostatic Property Cluster (HPC) theory suggests that species and other biological taxa consist of organisms that share certain similarities. HPC theory acknowledges the existence of Darwinian variation within biological taxa. The claim is that “homeostatic mechanisms” acting on the members of such taxa nonetheless ensure a significant cluster of similarities. The HPC theorist’s focus on individual similarities is inadequate to account for stable polymorphism within taxa, and fails properly to capture their historical nature. A better approach is to treat distributions (...)
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  46. Mark Ereshefsky, Natural Kinds in Biology.
    It is commonly held that objects in the world form natural kinds. Rabbits form a natural kind and so do all pieces of gold. The traditional account of natural kinds asserts that the members of a kind share a common essence. The essence of gold, for example, is its unique atomic structure. That structure occurs in all and only pieces of gold, and it is a property that all pieces of gold must have.
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  47. Mark Ereshefsky (2007). Foundational Issues Concerning Taxa and Taxon Names. Systematic Biology 56 (2):295-301.
    In a series of articles, Rieppel (2005, Biol. Philos. 20:465–487; 2006a, Cladistics 22:186–197; 2006b, Systematist 26:5–9), Keller et al. (2003, Bot. Rev. 69:93–110), and Nixon and Carpenter (2000, Cladistics 16:298–318) criticize the philosophical foundations of the PhyloCode. They argue that species and higher taxa are not individuals, and they reject the view that taxon names are rigid designators. Furthermore, they charge supporters of the individuality thesis and rigid designator theory with assuming essentialism, committing logical inconsistencies, and offering proposals that render (...)
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  48. Michael Esfeld (2005). The Causal Homogeneity of Biological Kinds. History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 27 (3/4):421 - 433.
    The aim of this paper is to show that biological kinds can be causally homogeneous, although all biological causes are identical with configurations of physical causes. The paper considers two different strategies to establish that result: the first one relies on two different manners of classification (according to function and according to composition); the other one exploits the idea of biological classifications being rather coarse-grained, whereas physical classifications are fine-grained.
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  49. Evan Fales (1982). Natural Kinds and Freaks of Nature. Philosophy of Science 49 (1):67-90.
    Essentialism--understood as the doctrine that there are natural kinds--can be sustained with respect to the most fundamental physical entities of the world, as I elsewhere argue. In this paper I take up the question of the existence of natural kinds among complex structures built out of these elementary ones. I consider a number of objections to essentialism, in particular Locke's puzzle about the existence of borderline cases. A number of recent attempts to justify biological taxonomy are critically examined. I conclude (...)
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  50. Juan José Acero Fernández & José Manuel Palma Muñoz (2013). Emotion, Perception, and Natural Kinds. Biological Theory 7 (2):153-161.
    The question addressed in this paper is whether particular emotional experiences or episodes of an emotion (such as two experiences of happiness) belong to a natural kind. The final answer to this question is that although some, even many, single episodes of an emotion may group into a natural kind, belonging to a natural kind is a highly contextual matter. The proposal relies on two premises. First, a conception of natural kind-hood that follows Boyd’s Homeostatic Property Cluster Theory. Second, a (...)
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