Realism and human kinds

It is often noted that institutional objects and artifacts depend on human beliefs and intentions and so fail to meet the realist paradigm of mind-independent objects. In this paper I draw out exactly in what ways the thesis of mind-independence fails, and show that it has some surprising consequences. For the specific forms of mind-dependence involved entail that we have certain forms of epistemic privilege with regard to our own institutional and artifactual kinds, protecting us from certain possibilities of ignorance and error; they also demonstrate that not all cases of reference to these kinds can proceed along a causal model. As a result, realist views in ontology, epistemology, and semantics that were developed with natural scientific kinds in mind cannot fully apply to the everyday world. In closing I consider some wider consequences of these results for social science and philosophy.
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DOI 10.1111/j.1933-1592.2003.tb00309.x
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References found in this work BETA
Saul Kripke (2010). Naming and Necessity. In Darragh Byrne & Max Kölbel (eds.), Philosophy. Routledge 431-433.

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Citations of this work BETA
Nikk Effingham (2010). The Metaphysics of Groups. Philosophical Studies 149 (2):251 - 267.
Muhammad Ali Khalidi (2015). Three Kinds of Social Kinds. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 90 (1):96-112.

View all 15 citations / Add more citations

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