Synthese 195 (4):1379-1396 (2018)

Authors
Muhammad Ali Khalidi
CUNY Graduate Center
Abstract
In this paper I offer a unified causal account of natural kinds. Using as a starting point the widely held view that natural kind terms or predicates are projectible, I argue that the ontological bases of their projectibility are the causal properties and relations associated with the natural kinds themselves. Natural kinds are not just concatenations of properties but ordered hierarchies of properties, whose instances are related to one another as causes and effects in recurrent causal processes. The resulting account of natural kinds as clusters of core causal properties that give rise to clusters of derivative properties enables us to distinguish genuine natural kinds from non-natural kinds. For instance, it enables us to say why some of the purely conventional categories derived from the social domain do not correspond to natural kinds, though other social categories may.
Keywords Natural kinds  Causation  Metaphysics of science
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DOI 10.1007/s11229-015-0841-y
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References found in this work BETA

Fact, Fiction, and Forecast.Nelson Goodman - 1955 - Harvard University Press.

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Citations of this work BETA

Putting Modal Metaphysics First.Antonella Mallozzi - 2018 - Synthese (Suppl 8):1-20.
Social Ontology.Brian Epstein - 2018 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Free Actions as a Natural Kind.Oisín Deery - 2021 - Synthese 198 (1):823-843.

View all 18 citations / Add more citations

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