Natural Kinds, Causal Relata and Causal Relations
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Realist accounts of natural kinds rely on an account of causation where the relata of causal relations are real and discrete. These views about natural kinds entail very different accounts of causation. In particular, the necessity of the causal relation given the instantiation of the properties of natural kinds is more robust in the fundamental sciences (e.g. physics and chemistry) than it is in the life sciences (e.g. biology and the medical sciences). In this paper, I wish to argue that there is a difference in kind between the putative natural kinds of the fundamental sciences and those of the life sciences, such that a uniform account of causation cannot capture both. The upshot is that we must either reject the claim that the kinds of the life sciences are genuine natural kinds, or accept that there are different kinds of causal relations involving the relata of natural kinds. I accept the latter. I reject the objection that the true causal relations that relate macro-level kinds are to be found by “going down a level” to causal relation at the fundamental kind, because the relevant causal mechanisms are not at the fundamental level. Since, autonomous mechanistic accounts of causal relations at the macro-level can be provided (e.g. in Biology and medicine), I argue that realism about the natural kinds of the life sciences is justified. I address the problem of negative causation as a counterexample to the positive account of causation that is entailed by realism about natural kinds in the life sciences. I argue that an acceptance of realist accounts of two different kinds of natural kind makes a uniform analysis of causation look unpromising. (277 words)
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library||
References found in this work BETA
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
Elliott Sober (2011). A Priori Causal Models of Natural Selection. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 89 (4):571 - 589.
Stefan Dragulinescu (2010). Diseases as Natural Kinds. Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 31 (5):347-369.
Stefan Dragulinescu (2012). The Problem of Processes and Transitions: Are Diseases Phase Kinds? [REVIEW] Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 15 (1):79-89.
Thomas A. C. Reydon (2009). Do the Life Sciences Need Natural Kinds? Croatian Journal of Philosophy 9 (2):167-190.
M. Gregory Oakes (2007). Can Indirect Causation Be Real? Metaphysica 8 (2):111-122.
Kathrin Koslicki (2008). Natural Kinds and Natural Kind Terms. Philosophy Compass 3 (4):789-802.
Daniel Murray Hausman (2005). Causal Relata: Tokens, Types, or Variables? [REVIEW] Erkenntnis 63 (1):33 - 54.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads19 ( #90,396 of 1,103,039 )
Recent downloads (6 months)0
How can I increase my downloads?