Why Hacking is wrong about human kinds

British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 55 (1):73-85 (2004)
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Abstract

is a term introduced by Ian Hacking to refer to the kinds of people—child abusers, pregnant teenagers, the unemployed—studied by the human sciences. Hacking argues that classifying and describing human kinds results in feedback, which alters the very kinds under study. This feedback results in human kinds having histories totally unlike those of natural kinds (such as gold, electrons and tigers), leading Hacking to conclude that human kinds are radically unlike natural kinds. Here I argue that Hacking's argument fails and that he has not demonstrated that human kinds cannot be natural kinds. Introduction Natural kinds Hacking's feedback mechanisms 3.1 Cultural feedback 3.2 Conceptual feedback.

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Rachel Cooper
Lancaster University

Citations of this work

Natural Kinds: Rosy Dawn, Scholastic Twilight.Ian Hacking - 2007 - Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 61:203-239.
Natural Kinds.Emma Tobin & Alexander Bird - 2009 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
The Metaphysics of Social Kinds.Rebecca Mason - 2016 - Philosophy Compass 11 (12):841-850.
Capricious Kinds.Jessica Laimann - 2020 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 71 (3):1043-1068.

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References found in this work

The Social Construction of What?Ian Hacking - 1999 - Harvard University Press.
The Structure of Science.Ernest Nagel - 1961 - Les Etudes Philosophiques 17 (2):275-275.

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