Synthese:1-17 (forthcoming)

Authors
Marion Godman
Cambridge University
Abstract
Natural kinds, real kinds, or, following J.S Mill simply, Kinds, are thought to be an important asset for scientific realists in the non-fundamental (or “special”) sciences. Essential natures are less in vogue. I show that the realist would do well to couple her Kinds with essential natures in order to strengthen their epistemic and ontological credentials. I argue that these essential natures need not however be intrinsic to the Kind’s members; they may be historical. I concentrate on assessing the merits of historical essential natures in a paradigm case of Kinds in the non-fundamental sciences: species. I specify two basic jobs for essential natures: 1) offering individuation criteria, and 2) providing a causal explanation of the Kind’s multiple projectable properties. I argue that at least in the case of species historical essences are fit for both tasks. The principled resistance to Kinds with historical essences should also be cleared.
Keywords scientific realism  essentialism  species  historical essences  natural kinds
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DOI 10.1007/s11229-018-02034-3
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References found in this work BETA

The Meaning of 'Meaning'.Hillary Putnam - 1975 - Minnesota Studies in the Philosophy of Science 7:131-193.
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Citations of this work BETA

Natural kind terms again.Panu Raatikainen - 2021 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 11 (1):1-17.
Representing and Coordinating Ethnobiological Knowledge.Daniel A. Weiskopf - 2020 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 84:101328.

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