Do the Life Sciences Need Natural Kinds?

Croatian Journal of Philosophy 9 (2):167-190 (2009)

Authors
Thomas A. C. Reydon
Universität Hannover
Abstract
Natural kinds have been a constant topic in philosophy throughout its history, but many issues pertaining to natural kinds still remain unresolved. This paper considers one of these issues: the epistemic role of natural kinds in scientific investigation. I begin by clarifying what is at stake for an individual scientific field when asking whether or not the field studies a natural kind. I use an example from life science, concerning how biologists explain the similar body shapes of fish and cetaceans, to show that natural kinds play a central epistemic role in scientific explanations that cannot be delegated to other explanatory factors. A task for philosophy, then, is to come up with a theory of natural kinds that adequately accounts for the epistemic role of natural kinds in science. After having sketched the spectrum of available philosophical theories of natural kinds, I argue that none of the available theories adequately performs this task and that therefore the search is still open for a theory that does
Keywords Analytic Philosophy  Contemporary Philosophy
Categories (categorize this paper)
ISBN(s) 1333-1108
DOI croatjphil20099221
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

Our Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 38,694
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Natural Kinds as Categorical Bottlenecks.Laura Franklin-Hall - 2015 - Philosophical Studies 172 (4):925-948.
Looping Kinds and Social Mechanisms.Jaakko Kuorikoski & Samuli Pöyhönen - 2012 - Sociological Theory 30 (3):187-205.
Kinds of Biological Individuals: Sortals, Projectibility, and Selection.DiFrisco James - forthcoming - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

The Natural Shiftiness of Natural Kinds.Sousa Ronald De - 1984 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 14 (4):561 - 580.
Diseases as Natural Kinds.Stefan Dragulinescu - 2010 - Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 31 (5):347-369.
Natural Kinds and Natural Kind Terms.Kathrin Koslicki - 2008 - Philosophy Compass 3 (4):789-802.
On the Necessity of Natural Kinds.John Collier - 1996 - In P. Riggs (ed.), Natural Kinds, Laws of Nature and Scientific Methodology. Kluwer Academic Publishers. pp. 1-10.
Why Hacking is Wrong About Human Kinds.Rachel Cooper - 2004 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 55 (1):73-85.
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: Natural Kinds in Metaphysics and Science. MIT Press.
Three Kinds of Social Kinds.Muhammad Ali Khalidi - 2015 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 90 (1):96-112.
Natural Kinds and Natural Kind Reasoning.Brian Ellas - 1996 - In Peter J. Riggs (ed.), Natural Kinds, Laws of Nature and Scientific Methodology. Kluwer Academic Publishers. pp. 11-28.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2011-01-09

Total views
58 ( #122,837 of 2,317,975 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #769,401 of 2,317,975 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Monthly downloads

My notes

Sign in to use this feature