Mechanisms and natural kinds

Philosophical Psychology 22 (5):575-594 (2009)
It is common to defend the Homeostatic Property Cluster ( HPC ) view as a third way between conventionalism and essentialism about natural kinds ( Boyd , 1989, 1991, 1997, 1999; Griffiths , 1997, 1999; Keil , 2003; Kornblith , 1993; Wilson , 1999, 2005; Wilson , Barker , & Brigandt , forthcoming ). According to the HPC view, property clusters are not merely conventionally clustered together; the co-occurrence of properties in the cluster is sustained by a similarity generating ( or homeostatic ) mechanism . I argue that conventional elements are involved partly but ineliminably in deciding which mechanisms define kinds , for deciding when two mechanisms are mechanisms of the same type, and for deciding where one particular mechanism ends and another begins. This intrusion of conventional perspective into the idea of a mechanism raises doubts as to whether the HPC view is sufficiently free of conventional elements to serve as an objective arbiter in scientific disputes about what the kinds of the special sciences should be.
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DOI 10.1080/09515080903238930
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Cory D. Wright (2012). Mechanistic Explanation Without the Ontic Conception. European Journal of Philosophy of Science 2 (3):375-394.

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