Review of Laporte on natural kinds [Book Review]
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Philosophy in Review 24:423-426 (2004)
Natural Kinds and Conceptual Change is a refreshingly direct book that challenges a range of orthodox views in the philosophy of science (especially biology), the philosophy of language, and metaphysics. Amongst these are the views that species are individuals rather than natural kinds; that scientists discover the essences of natural kinds; that the causal theory of reference has commonly-ascribed implications for realism and analyticity; that there is an unacceptable form of incommensurability entailed by descriptivism about reference; and that there are good grounds, familiar since Quine, for thinking that there is no distinction of significance to be drawn between changes in meaning and changes in theory. LaPorte argues against all of these claims, and if you are curious about just how he does it, then this is a book for you.
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