Philosophy of Science 76 (5):724-736 (2009)

Authors
Thomas A. C. Reydon
Universität Hannover
Abstract
Natural kinds are often contrasted with other kinds of scientific kinds, especially functional kinds, because of a presumed categorical difference in explanatory value: supposedly, natural kinds can ground explanations, while other kinds of kinds cannot. I argue against this view of natural kinds by examining a particular type of explanation—mechanistic explanation—and showing that functional kinds do the same work there as traditionally recognized natural kinds are supposed to do in “standard” scientific explanations. Breaking down this categorical distinction between traditional natural kinds and other kinds of kinds, I argue, delivers two goods: It provides us with a view of natural kindhood that does justice to the epistemic roles of kinds in scientific explanations. And it allows us to solve a problem that HPC theory, currently one of the more popular accounts of natural kindhood, confronts.
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DOI 10.1086/605814
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References found in this work BETA

Special Sciences.Jerry A. Fodor - 1974 - Synthese 28 (2):97-115.
The Architecture of Complexity.Herbert A. Simon - 1962 - Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society 106.
When Mechanistic Models Explain.Carl F. Craver - 2006 - Synthese 153 (3):355-376.
A Tradition of Natural Kinds.Ian Hacking - 1991 - Philosophical Studies 61 (1-2):109-26.

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Citations of this work BETA

Scientific Kinds.Marc Ereshefsky & Thomas A. C. Reydon - 2015 - Philosophical Studies 172 (4):969-986.
Taxonomy, Ontology, and Natural Kinds.P. Magnus - 2018 - Synthese 195 (4):1427-1439.
Free Actions as a Natural Kind.Oisín Deery - 2021 - Synthese 198 (1):823-843.

View all 20 citations / Add more citations

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