Essentialism about naturalkinds has three tenets. The first tenet is that all and only members of a natural kind has some essential properties. The second tenet is that these essential properties play a causal role. The third tenet is that they are explanatorily relevant. I examine the prospects of questioning these tenets and point out that arguing against the first and the second tenets of kind-essentialism would involve taking parts in some of the grand debates of (...) philosophy. But, at least if we restrict the scope of the discussion to the biological domain, the third tenet of kind-essentialism could be questioned more successfully. (shrink)
The vision of naturalkinds that is most common in the modern philosophy of biology, particularly with respect to the question whether species and other taxa are naturalkinds, is based on a revision of the notion by Mill in A System of Logic. However, there was another conception that Whewell had previously captured well, which taxonomists have always employed, of kinds as being types that need not have necessary and sufficient characters and properties, or (...) essences. These competing views employ different approaches to scientific methodologies: Mill’s class-kinds are not formed by induction but by deduction, while Whewell’s type-kinds are inductive. More recently, phylogenetic kinds (clades, or monophyletic-kinds) are inductively projectible, and escape Mill’s strictures. Mill’s version represents a shift in the notions of kinds from the biological to the physical sciences. (shrink)
In this paper I criticize arguments by Pauline Phemister and Matthew Stuart that John Locke's position in his An Essay Concerning Human Understanding allows for naturalkinds based on similarities among real essences. On my reading of Locke, not only are similarities among real essences irrelevant to species, but natural kind theories based on them are unintelligible.
What are biological species? Aristotelians and Lockeans agree that they are naturalkinds; but, evolutionary theory shows that neither traditional philosophical approach is truly adequate. Recently, Michael Ghiselin and David Hull have argued that species are individuals. This claim is shown to be against the spirit of much modern biology. It is concluded that species are naturalkinds of a sort, and that any 'objectivity' they possess comes from their being at the focus of a consilience (...) of inductions. (shrink)
In this article I examine some of the issues involved in taking psychiatric disorders as naturalkinds. I begin by introducing a permissive model of natural kind-hood that at least prima facie seems to allow psychiatric disorders to be naturalkinds. The model, however, hinges on there in principle being some grounding that is shared by all members of a kind, which explain all or most of the additional shared projectible properties. This leads us to (...) the following question: what grounding do psychiatric disorders qua naturalkinds have? My principal method for examining the issue is a case study of a particular psychiatric disorder: the so-called “apathetic children.” I argue that there appear to be at least two competing models that both appeal to non-organic a grounding of the disorder. However, for other psychiatric disorders, such as Alzheimer’s disease, the evidence points toward an organic explanation of the disorder. I contend that what unites psychiatric disorders is not a distinctive type of grounding that all psychiatric disorders share, but the distinctive set of determinable properties that is shared by all psychiatric disorders. (shrink)
In this paper, I focus on life-threatening medical conditions and argue that from the point of view of natural properties, induction(s), and participation in laws, at least some of the ill organisms dealt with in somatic medicine form naturalkinds in the same sense in which the kinds in the exact sciences are thought of as natural. By way of comparing two ‘divisions of nature’, viz., a ‘classical’ exact science kind (gold) and a kind of (...) disease (Graves disease), I show that there is no justifiable ‘ontological gap’ between disease kinds and exact sciences kinds. We have instead a difference of degree. (shrink)
A long-standing debate has dominated systematic biology and the ontological commitments made by its theories. The debate has contrasted individuals and the part – whole relationship with classes and the membership relation. This essay proposes to conceptualize the hierarchy of higher taxa is terms of a hierarchy of homeostatic property cluster naturalkinds (biological species remain largely excluded from the present discussion). The reference of natural kind terms that apply to supraspecific taxa is initially fixed descriptively; the (...) extension of those natural kind terms is subsequently established by empirical investigation. In that sense, classification precedes generalization, and description provides guidance to empirical investigation. The reconstruction of a hierarchy of (homeostatic property cluster) naturalkinds is discussed in the light of cladistic methods of phylogeny reconstruction. (shrink)
In this article, I argue that depression and suicide are naturalkinds insofar as they are classes of abnormal behavior underwritten by sets of stable biological mechanisms. In particular, depression and suicide are neurobiological kinds characterized by disturbances in serotonin functioning that affect various brain areas (i.e., the amygdala, anterior cingulate, prefrontal cortex, and hippocampus). The significance of this argument is that the natural (biological) basis of depression and suicide allows for reliable projectable inferences (i.e., predictions) (...) to be made about individual members of a kind. In the context of assisted suicide, inferences about the decision-making capacity of depressed individuals seeking physician-assisted suicide are of special interest. I examine evidence that depression can hamper the decision-making capacity of individuals seeking assisted suicide and discuss some implications. (shrink)
The paper sketches an ontological solution to an epistemological problem in the philosophy of science. Taking the work of Hilary Kornblith and Brian Ellis as a point of departure, it presents a realist solution to the Humean problem of induction, which is based on a scientific essentialist interpretation of the principle of the uniformity of nature. More specifically, it is argued that use of inductive inference in science is rationally justified because of the existence of real, naturalkinds (...) of things, which are characterized as such by the essential properties which all members of a kind necessarily possess in common. The proposed response to inductive scepticism combines the insights of epistemic naturalism with a metaphysical outlook that is due to scientific realism. (shrink)
While philosophers tend to consider a single type of causal history, biologists distinguish between two kinds of causal history: evolutionary history and developmental history. This essay studies the peculiarity of development as a criterion for the individuation of biological traits and its relation to form, function, and evolution. By focusing on examples involving serial homologies and genetic reprogramming, we argue that morphology (form) and function, even when supplemented with evolutionary history, are sometimes insufficient to individuate traits. Developmental mechanisms bring (...) in a novel aspect to the business of classification—identity of process-type—according to which entities are type-identical across individuals and naturalkinds in virtue of the fact that they form and develop through similar processes. These considerations bear important metaphysical implications and have potential applications in several areas of philosophy. (shrink)
This article, which is intended both as a position paper in the philosophical debate on naturalkinds and as the guest editorial to this thematic issue, takes up the challenge posed by Ian Hacking in his paper, “NaturalKinds: Rosy Dawn, Scholastic Twilight.” Whereas a straightforward interpretation of that paper suggests that according to Hacking the concept of naturalkinds should be abandoned, both in the philosophy of science and in philosophy more generally, we (...) suggest that an alternative and less fatalistic reading is also possible. We argue that abandoning the concept of naturalkinds would be premature, as it still can do important work. Our concern is with the situation in the (philosophy of the) life sciences. Against the background of this concern we attempt to set something of an agenda for future research on the topic of naturalkinds in the (philosophy of the) life sciences. (shrink)
Talk of different types of cells is commonplace in the biological sciences. We know a great deal, for example, about human muscle cells by studying the same type of cells in mice. Information about cell type is apparently largely projectible across species boundaries. But what defines cell type? Do cells come pre-packaged into different naturalkinds? Philosophical attention to these questions has been extremely limited [see e.g., Wilson (Species: New Interdisciplinary Essays, pp 187–207, 1999; Genes and the Agents (...) of Life, 2005; Wilson et al. Philos Top 35(1/2):189–215, 2007)]. On the face of it, the problems we face in individuating cellular kinds resemble those biologists and philosophers of biology encountered in thinking about species: there are apparently many different (and interconnected) bases on which we might legitimately classify cells. We could, for example, focus on their developmental history (a sort of analogue to a species’ evolutionary history); or we might divide on the basis of certain structural features, functional role, location within larger systems, and so on. In this paper, I sketch an approach to cellular kinds inspired by Boyd’s Homeostatic Property Cluster Theory, applying some lessons from this application back to general questions about the nature of naturalkinds. (shrink)
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 reflect biological reality, what sorts of kinds or classification will be useful in advancing a research program depends on the epistemological context. Thus, the important meaning of “natural” in “naturalkinds” is not “natural with respect to nature,” but “natural with respect to the question.” This conclusion arises from the recognition that the proper role of concepts (e.g. natural kind, module, homology, model) is not to answer biological questions, but rather to help frame them. From a scientist’s perspective, arguing about the wording (or existence) of a single definition of “natural” or “kind” is beside the point: we get more work done by letting the question at hand determine what kinds of kinds are natural, on the basis of their ability to help answer it. We should be content to let “naturalkinds” remain vague, multivalent, and–therefore broadly useful. For a philosopher like Hacking, the diverse, disparate, and ultimately incommensurable uses of the term “natural kind” have diluted its value so far that it loses all meaning. For practicing scientists, however, defining useful kinds in the context of particular questions and systems remains a productive epistemological strategy. (shrink)
This paper takes a hierarchical approach to the question whether species are individuals or naturalkinds. The thesis defended here is that species are spatiotemporally located complex wholes (individuals), that are composed of (i.e., include) causally interdependent parts, which collectively also instantiate a homeostatic property cluster (HPC) natural kind. Species may form open or closed genetic systems that are dynamic in nature, that have fuzzy boundaries due to the processual nature of speciation, that may have leaky boundaries (...) as is manifest in lateral gene transfer and introgression, that may be of multiple origins through hybridization, and that may split and merge and split again over time. The identity conditions of species qua individuals will have to be anchored in their history, rather than in their unique evolutionary origin. Species qua historically conditioned HPC naturalkinds requires the kind to be mereologically structured, subject to the part-whole relation rather than the membership relation. This implies that there can be more than one kind of naturalkinds. (shrink)
Fodor claims that cognitive modules can be thought of as constituting a psychological natural kind in virtue of their possession of most or all of nine specified properties. The challenge to this considered here comes from synaesthesia. Synaesthesia is a type of cross-modal association: input to one sensory modality reliably generates an additional sensory output that is usually generated by the input to a distinct sensory modality. The most common form of synaesthesia manifests Fodor's nine specified properties of modularity, (...) and hence, according to Segal (1997), it should be understood as involving an extra module. Many psychologists believe that synaesthesia involves a breakdown in modularity. After outlining how both theories can explain the manifestation of the nine alleged properties of modularity in synaesthesia, I discuss the two concepts of function which initially motivate the respective theories. I argue that only a teleological concept of function is properly able to adjudicate between the two theories. The upshot is a further application of so-called externalist considerations to mental phenomena. (shrink)
This paper discusses whether it can be known a priori that a particular term, such as water, is a natural kind term, and how this problem relates to Putnams claim that natural kind terms require an externalist semantics. Two conceptions of natural kind terms are contrasted: The first holds that whether water is a natural kind term depends on its a priori knowable semantic features. The second.
In earlier work I have claimed that emotion and some emotions are not `naturalkinds'. Here I clarify what I mean by `natural kind', suggest a new and more accurate term, and discuss the objection that emotion and emotions are not descriptive categories at all, but fundamentally normative categories.
It has been argued recently that some basic emotions should be considered naturalkinds. This is different from the question whether as a class emotions form a natural kind; that is, whether emotion is a natural kind. The consensus on that issue appears to be negative. I argue that this pessimism is unwarranted and that there are in fact good reasons for entertaining the hypothesis that emotion is a natural kind. I interpret this to mean (...) that there exists a distinct natural class of organisms whose behavior and development are governed by emotion. These are emoters. Two arguments for the natural kind status of emotion are considered. Both converge on the existence of emotion as a distinct natural domain governed by its own laws and regularities. There are then some reasons for being optimistic about the prospects for consilience in emotion theory. 1 The mantra 2 Griffiths on emotions as naturalkinds 3 Panksepp on emotions as naturalkinds 4 Emotion as a neurobiological kind 5 Emotion as a psychological kind 6 Response to the mantra 7 Unification or fragmentation? 8 Concluding remarks. (shrink)
It has been suggested that the theory of reference advanced by Kripke and Putnam implies, or presupposes, an aristotelian vision of naturalkinds and essences. I argue that what is in fact established is that there are degrees of naturalness among kinds. A parallel argument shows that there are degrees of naturalness among individuals. A subsidiary theme of the paper is that the definition of "natural kind term" as "rigid designator of a natural kind" is (...) mistaken. Names and natural kind terms are defined by ostension to a spatiotemporal part of what they ostend. This helps us understand why 'Hesperus' and 'Phosphorus' are cognitively non-equivalent. (shrink)
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 view of emotional episodes that fits with the External Theory of Perception: typical emotional episodes are perceptual experiences of emotional affordances. After pointing out what candidates for emotional homeostatic properties could be like and suggesting some examples of emotional homeostatic mechanisms, the authors conclude that there are property clusters of emotional perceptions stabilized by homeostatic mechanisms. In spite of this, what counts as an emotional natural kind depends on many factors, not all of them natural: world properties, bodily and mental states of the agent, learning mechanisms that help us to satisfactorily navigate in the world, cultural differences that determine our perceptual style, as well as different interests which guide the explanation and prediction of emotional episodes. (shrink)
The aim of this article is to detail some reservations against the beliefs, claims, or presuppositions that current essentialist natural kind concepts (including homeostatic property cluster kinds) model grouping practices in the life sciences accurately and generally. Such concepts fit reasoning into particular preconceived epistemic and semantic patterns. The ability of these patterns to fit scientific practice is often argued in support of homeostatic property cluster accounts, yet there are reasons to think that in the life sciences kind (...) concepts exhibit a diversity of grouping practices that are flattened out by conceptualizing them as naturalkinds. Instead this article argues that the process of understanding grouping practices needs to start from a more neutral position independent of any ontological account. Following Love (Acta Biotheor 57:51–75, 2009) this paper suggests that typical natural kind concepts should be broached in the first place as grouping strategies that use a variety of semantic and epistemic tactics to apply group-bound information to tasks of explanation and understanding. (shrink)
Are there naturalkinds 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.
Essentialism as applied to individuals is the claim that for at least some individuals there are properties that those individuals possess essentially. What it is to possess a property essentially is a matter of debate. To possess a property essentially is often taken to be akin to possessing a property necessarily, but stronger, although this is not a feature of Aristotle’s essentialism, according to which essential properties are those thing could not lose without ceasing to exist. Kit Fine (1994) takes (...) essential properties to be those that an object has in virtue of its identity, while other essentialists refer (as Fine also does) to the nature of an object as the source of its essential properties. It is sometimes important to distinguish the essential properties of a thing and the ‘full’ essence of a thing. The latter is the set of the essential properties of a thing, when that set necessarily suffices to determine the thing’s identity. One might hold that something has essential properties without agreeing that it has an identity-determining essence. Essentialism was largely in abeyance during the first two thirds of the twentieth century thanks to the domination of analytic philosophy by anti-metaphysical logical empiricism and the linguistic turn. The rehabilitation of essentialism owes much to the development of a formal apparatus for the understanding of modality more generally, thanks to C. I. Lewis, Ruth Barcan Marcus, and Saul Kripke. Kripke’s discussion of essentialism both about individuals and also about about naturalkinds brought essentialism to wider philosophical prominence. Natural kind essentialism, which finds its modern genesis also in the work of Hilary Putnam, claims that naturalkinds have essential properties: to say that possession of property P is is part of the essence of the kind K implies that, necessarily, every member or sample of the kind K possesses P. Essentialism about individuals has been linked to thinking about naturalkinds by the contentious claim that one of the essential properties of any entity is that it belongs to the natural kind (or kinds) it actually belongs to. In this chapter I shall first outline certain claims and arguments concerning essentialism concerning individuals (Section 2).. (shrink)
The rosy dawn of my title refers to that optimistic time when the logical concept of a natural kind originated in Victorian England. The scholastic twilight refers to the present state of affairs. I devote more space to dawn than twilight, because one basic problem was there from the start, and by now those origins have been forgotten. Philosophers have learned many things about classification from the tradition of naturalkinds. But now it is in disarray and (...) is unlikely to be put back together again. My argument is less founded on objections to the numerous theories now in circulation, than on the sheer proliferation of incompatible views. There no longer exists what Bertrand Russell called ‘the doctrine of naturalkinds’—one doctrine. Instead we have a slew of distinct analyses directed at unrelated projects. (shrink)
The aim of this article is to illustrate how a belief in the existence of kinds may be justified for the particular case of naturalkinds: particularly noteworthy in this respect is the weight borne by scientific naturalkinds (e.g., physical, chemical, and biological kinds) in (i) inductive arguments; (ii) the laws of nature; and (iii) causal explanations. It is argued that biological taxa are properly viewed as kinds as well, despite the fact (...) that they have been by some alleged to be individuals. Since it turns out that the arguments associated with the standard Kripke/Putnam semantics for natural kind terms only establish the non-descriptiveness of natural kind terms and not their rigidity, the door is open to analyze these terms as denoting traditional predicate-extensions. Finally, special issues raised by physical and chemical kinds are considered briefly, in particular impurities, isotopes and the threat of incommensurability. (shrink)
This paper evaluates the Natural-Kinds Argument for cognitive extension, which purports to show that the kinds presupposed by our best cognitive science have instances external to human organism. Various interpretations of the argument are articulated and evaluated, using the overarching categories of memory and cognition as test cases. Particular emphasis is placed on criteria for the scientific legitimacy of generic kinds, that is, kinds characterized in very broad terms rather than in terms of their fine-grained (...) causal roles. Given the current state of cognitive science, I conclude that we have no reason to think memory or cognition are generic naturalkinds that can ground an argument for cognitive extension. (shrink)
Are qualia naturalkinds? In order to give this question slightly more focus, and to show why it might be an interesting question, let me begin by saying a little about what I take qualia to be, and what naturalkinds. For the purposes of this paper, I shall be assuming a fairly full-blooded kind of phenomenal realism about qualia: qualia, thus, include the qualitative painfulness of pain (rather than merely the functional specification of pain states), (...) the qualitative redness in the visual field that typically accompanies red discriminations, the taste of lemon (independently of the fact that such states are normally caused by lemons and give rise to puckering of the lips, etc.), and so on. In other words, I am assuming the falsity of functionalism with respect to qualia, though I am not for a moment assuming dualism. (shrink)
We talk as if there are naturalkinds and in particular we quantify over them. We can count the number of elements discovered by Sir Humphrey Davy, or the number of kinds of particle in the standard model. Consequently, it looks at first sight at least, that naturalkinds are entities of a sort. In the light of this we may ask certain questions: is the apparent existence of naturalkinds real or an (...) illusion? And if real, what sort of entity are naturalkinds? Are they sui generis? Or can they be identified with or reduced to some other kind of entity? In this essay I shall look at possible reasons for asserting that either kinds are no sort of entity, or, if they are entities, their existence is equivalent to some fact not involving kinds. Richard Boyd seems to take the view that the apparent existence of naturalkinds is an illusion. (shrink)
Despite the traditional focus on metaphysical issues in discussions of naturalkinds 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 homologues as another example of naturalkinds, comparing them with analogues as functionally defined kinds. Given that there are various types of naturalkinds, I discuss the different theoretical purposes served by diverse kind concepts, suggesting that there is no clear-cut distinction between naturalkinds and other kinds, such as functional kinds. Rather than attempting to offer a unique metaphysical account of ‘natural’ kind, a more fruitful approach consists in the epistemological study of how different natural kind concepts are employed in scientific reasoning. (shrink)
Though the question is ontological, I will approach it through another, partially linguistic, question. What must naturalkinds be like, if the conventional wisdom about natural kind terms is correct? Although answering this question won’t tell us everything we want to know, it will, I think, be useful in narrowing the range of feasible ontological alternatives. I will therefore summarize what I take to be the contemporary linguistic wisdom, and then test different proposals about kinds against (...) it. As we will see, some fare better than others. (shrink)
It is common to defend the Homeostatic Property Cluster ( HPC ) view as a third way between conventionalism and essentialism about naturalkinds ( 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. (shrink)
One of the more interesting topics debated by Leibniz and Locke and one that has received comparatively little critical commentary is the nature of essences and the classification of the natural world.1 This topic, moreover, is of tremendous importance, occupying a position at the intersection of the metaphysics of individual beings, modality, epistemology, and philosophy of language. And, while it goes back to Plato, who wondered if we could cut nature at its joints, as Nicholas Jolley has pointed out, (...) the debate between Leibniz and Locke has very clear similarities to the topic that has dominated the philosophy of language from the 1970s on: namely, the challenge mounted by Kripke, Kaplan, Putnam, and others against Russellian and Fregean descriptivist accounts of meaning. Yet, this topic is also, as Jolley writes, one of the “most elusive” in the debate between Leibniz and Locke.2 The purpose of this paper is to examine in detail Leibniz’s critique of Locke’s distinction between real and nominal essences. In doing so, I <span class='Hi'>hope</span> to show certain virtues in Leibniz’s account of metaphysics and philosophy of language that usually escape notice. While I wish to provide a general account of Leibniz’s disagreement with Locke, I also plan to focus on the nature of species and naturalkinds. In my opinion, those who have treated this topic have not paid sufficient attention to Leibniz’s claims that “Essence is fundamentally nothing but the possibility of the thing under consideration” (A VI, vi, 293) and “essences are everlasting because they only concern.. (shrink)
It is commonly held that objects in the world form naturalkinds. Rabbits form a natural kind and so do all pieces of gold. The traditional account of naturalkinds 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.
The Kripkean conception of naturalkinds (kinds are defined by essences that are intrinsic to their members and that lie at the microphysical level) indirectly finds support in a certain conception of a law of nature, according to which generalizations must have unlimited scope and be exceptionless to count as laws of nature. On my view, the kinds that constitute the subject matter of special sciences such as biology may very well turn out to be (...) class='Hi'>natural despite the fact that their essences fail to be microphysical or micro-based. On the causal conception of naturalkinds I privilege, the naturalness of a kind is a function of the fact that it figures prominently in at least one causal law. However, there is a strong tendency prevailing among contemporary philosophers to assume that, in order to count as proper laws generalizations must be expectionless. Since most generalizations tracked down by the special sciences turn out not to fulfill these criteria, what this conception of a law implies is that most of the generalizations the special sciences trade in are not proper laws. It follows that, on this view, most if not all of the kinds the special sciences dealing with turn out not to constitute naturalkinds, understood as kinds to which bona fide laws apply. In order to establish that the non-microstructurally defined kinds that fall within the domain of enquiry of the special sciences are eligible for the status of natural kind, I must therefore establish that generalizations needn’t have unlimited scope and be exceptionless to count as laws of nature. This is precisely what I seek to do in this paper. I begin by arguing that the question “what is a law of nature?” is most naturally interpreted as the question “what features must generalizations exhibit in order to ground scientific explanations?” and by offering reasons to believe that generalizations needn’t be exceptionless and have unlimited scope to play the crucial role laws have been thought to play in scientific explanation. Drawing on Sandra Mitchell [Mitchell, S. (2000). Philosophy of Science, 67, 242–265] and James Woodward’s [Woodward, J. (1997). Philosophy of science, 64 (proceedings), 524–541; Woodward, J. (2000). British Journal for the philosophy of science, 51(2), 197–254; Woodward, J. (2001). Philosophy of science, 68, 1–20] work, I subsequently develop an alternative account of the criteria generalizations must satisfy in order to count as laws of nature, which at least some of the generalizations of the special sciences turn out to fulfill. I thus give credence to the idea that at least some of the kinds that fall within the domain of the special sciences figure in laws of nature, and I thereby restore the possibility that some special science kinds deserve to be deemed natural. (shrink)