Matthew Slater
Bucknell University
Some astronomers believe that we have discovered that Pluto is not a planet. I contest this assessment. Recent discoveries of trans-Neptunian Pluto-sized objects do not require that we exclude Pluto from the planets. But the obvious alternative, that classificatory revision is a matter of arbitrary choice, is also unpalatable. I argue that this classificatory controversy — which I compare to the controversy about the classification of the platypus — illustrates how our classificatory practices are laden with normative commitments of a distinctive kind. I argue that the “norm-ladenness” of classification has philosophically significant ramifications for how we think about scientific disputes and debates in the metaphysics of classification such as the monism/pluralism debate.
Keywords scientific classification  norms  Pluto  planet  biological classification
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DOI 10.1016/j.shpsa.2017.01.001
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References found in this work BETA

Criticism and the Growth of Knowledge.Imre Lakatos & Alan Musgrave (eds.) - 1970 - Cambridge University Press.
Scientific Essentialism.Brian Ellis - 2001 - Cambridge University Press.
Counterfactuals. [REVIEW]William Parry - 1973 - Journal of Symbolic Logic 44 (2):278-281.

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Epistemic Loops and Measurement Realism.Alistair M. C. Isaac - 2019 - Philosophy of Science 86:930-941.

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