The problem of processes and transitions: are diseases phase kinds? [Book Review]

In this paper I discuss a central objection against diseases being natural kinds—namely, that diseases are processes or transitions and hence they should not be conceptualized in the ‘substantish’ framework of natural kinds. I indicate that the objection hinges on conceiving disease kinds as phase kinds, in contrast to the non-phase, natural kinds of the exact sciences. I focus on somatic diseases and argue, via a representative comparison, that if disease kinds are phase kinds, then exact science kinds are phase kinds as well. On the other hand, if exact science kinds are non-phase kinds, then disease kinds are non-phase kinds as well. This objection should thus be rejected, under a certain caveat, though. If natural kind membership has an influence over the diachronic identity of kind members, then it is possible, in principle, to draw the phase/non-phase distinction such that an ‘ontological gap’ lies between medical kinds and exact science kinds. I show further that this caveat is unavoidable even in relation to substantive universals and ‘essential’ properties—two controversial, strong features that were traditionally associated to natural kinds.
Keywords Natural kinds  Processes  Medical kinds  Phase kinds  Phases  Substantial changes  Jonathan Lowe
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/s11019-011-9316-1
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history
Request removal from index
Download options
Our Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 29,511
Through your library
References found in this work BETA
Reference and Essence.Nathan U. Salmon - 1981 - Prometheus Books.
Historical Kinds and the "Special Sciences".Ruth G. Millikan - 1999 - Philosophical Studies 95 (1-2):45-65.

View all 29 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles
Diseases as Natural Kinds.Stefan Dragulinescu - 2010 - Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 31 (5):347-369.
Arthritis and Nature's Joints.Neil E. Williams - 2011 - In Michael O'Rourke, Joseph Keim Campbell & Matthew H. Slater (eds.), Carving Nature at its Joints. MIT Press.
“Diseases and Natural Kinds”.Daniel P. Sulmasy - 2005 - Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 26 (6):487-513.
Three Kinds of Social Kinds.Muhammad Ali Khalidi - 2015 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 90 (1):96-112.
Why Hacking is Wrong About Human Kinds.Rachel Cooper - 2004 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 55 (1):73-85.
Antirealism and Artefact Kinds.Marzia Soavi - 2009 - Techne 13 (2):93-107.
Do the Life Sciences Need Natural Kinds?Thomas A. C. Reydon - 2009 - Croatian Journal of Philosophy 9 (2):167-190.
The Natural Shiftiness of Natural Kinds.Sousa Ronald De - 1984 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 14 (4):561 - 580.
Kinds of Kinds: A Conceptual Taxonomy of Psychiatric Categories.Nick Haslam - 2002 - Philosophy, Psychiatry, and Psychology 9 (3):203-217.
From Cutting Nature at its Joints to Measuring It: New Kinds and New Kinds of People in Biology.Gordon McOuat - 2001 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 32 (4):613-645.
Added to PP index

Total downloads
27 ( #192,771 of 2,180,721 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
2 ( #154,335 of 2,180,721 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Monthly downloads
My notes
Sign in to use this feature

There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.

Other forums