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Katherine Ritchie
University of California, Irvine
  1. Social Structures and the Ontology of Social Groups.Katherine Ritchie - 2020 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 100 (2):402-424.
    Social groups—like teams, committees, gender groups, and racial groups—play a central role in our lives and in philosophical inquiry. Here I develop and motivate a structuralist ontology of social groups centered on social structures (i.e., networks of relations that are constitutively dependent on social factors). The view delivers a picture that encompasses a diverse range of social groups, while maintaining important metaphysical and normative distinctions between groups of different kinds. It also meets the constraint that not every arbitrary collection of (...)
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  2. What Are Groups?Katherine Ritchie - 2013 - Philosophical Studies 166 (2):257-272.
    In this paper I argue for a view of groups, things like teams, committees, clubs and courts. I begin by examining features all groups seem to share. I formulate a list of six features of groups that serve as criteria any adequate theory of groups must capture. Next, I examine four of the most prominent views of groups currently on offer—that groups are non-singular pluralities, fusions, aggregates and sets. I argue that each fails to capture one or more of the (...)
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  3. The Metaphysics of Social Groups.Katherine Ritchie - 2015 - Philosophy Compass 10 (5):310-321.
    Social groups, including racial and gender groups and teams and committees, seem to play an important role in our world. This article examines key metaphysical questions regarding groups. I examine answers to the question ‘Do groups exist?’ I argue that worries about puzzles of composition, motivations to accept methodological individualism, and a rejection of Racialism support a negative answer to the question. An affirmative answer is supported by arguments that groups are efficacious, indispensible to our best theories, and accepted given (...)
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  4.  86
    Social Identity, Indexicality, and the Appropriation of Slurs.Katherine Ritchie - 2017 - Croatian Journal of Philosophy 17 (2):155-180.
    Slurs are expressions that can be used to demean and dehumanize targets based on their membership in racial, ethnic, religious, gender, or sexual orientation groups. Almost all treatments of slurs posit that they have derogatory content of some sort. Such views—which I call content-based—must explain why in cases of appropriation slurs fail to express their standard derogatory contents. A popular strategy is to take appropriated slurs to be ambiguous; they have both a derogatory content and a positive appropriated content. However, (...)
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  5. Social Ontology.Rebecca Mason & Katherine Ritchie - forthcoming - In Ricki Bliss & James Miller (eds.), Routledge Handbook of Metametaphysics.
    Traditionally, social entities (i.e., social properties, facts, kinds, groups, institutions, and structures) have not fallen within the purview of mainstream metaphysics. In this chapter, we consider whether the exclusion of social entities from mainstream metaphysics is philosophically warranted or if it instead rests on historical accident or bias. We examine three ways one might attempt to justify excluding social metaphysics from the domain of metaphysical inquiry and argue that each fails. Thus, we conclude that social entities are not justifiably excluded (...)
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  6.  96
    Should We Use Racial and Gender Generics?Katherine Ritchie - 2019 - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 8 (1):33-41.
    Recently several philosophers have argued that racial, gender, and other social generic generalizations should be avoided given their propensity to promote essentialist thinking, obscure the social nature of categories, and contribute to oppression. Here I argue that a general prohibition against social generics goes too far. Given that the truth of many generics require regularities or systematic rather than mere accidental correlations, they are our best means for describing structural forms of violence and discrimination. Moreover, their accuracy, their persistence in (...)
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  7. Social Creationism and Social Groups.Katherine Ritchie - 2018 - In Kendy Hess, Violetta Igneski & Tracy Isaacs (eds.), Collectivity: Ontology, Ethics, and Social Justice. London, UK: pp. 13-34.
    Social groups seem to be entities that are dependent on us. Given their apparent dependence, one might adopt Social Creationism—the thesis that all social groups are social objects created through (some specific types of) thoughts, intentions, agreements, habits, patterns of interaction, and practices. Here I argue that not all social groups come to be in the same way. This is due, in part, to social groups failing to share a uniform nature. I argue that some groups (e.g., racial and gender (...)
     
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  8. Can Semantics Guide Ontology?Katherine Ritchie - 2016 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 94 (1):24-41.
    Since the linguistic turn, many have taken semantics to guide ontology. Here, I argue that semantics can, at best, serve as a partial guide to ontological commitment. If semantics were to be our guide, semantic data and semantic treatments would need to be taken seriously. Through an examination of plurals and their treatments, I argue that there can be multiple, equally semantically adequate, treatments of a natural language theory. Further, such treatments can attribute different ontological commitments to a theory. Given (...)
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  9.  23
    Categories We Live By: The Construction of Sex, Gender, Race, and Other Social Categories By Ásta. [REVIEW]Katherine Ritchie - 2020 - Analysis 80 (3):595-598.
    _ Categories We Live by: The Construction of Sex, Gender, Race, and Other Social Categories _ By ÁstaOxford University Press, 2018. xiv + 140 pp.
    No categories
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  10. Does Identity Politics Reinforce Oppression?Katherine Ritchie - forthcoming - Philosophers' Imprint.
    Identity politics has been critiqued in various ways. One central problem—the Reinforcement Problem—claims that identity politics reinforces groups rooted in oppression thereby undermining its own liberatory aims. Here I consider two versions of the problem—one psychological and one metaphysical. I defang the first by drawing on work in social psychology. I then argue that careful consideration of the metaphysics of social groups and of the practice of identity politics provides resources to dissolve the second version. Identity politics involves the creation (...)
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  11. Essentializing Language and the Prospects for Ameliorative Projects.Katherine Ritchie - 2021 - Ethics 131 (3):460-488.
    Some language encourages essentialist thinking. While philosophers have largely focused on generics and essentialism, I argue that nouns as a category are poised to refer to kinds and to promote representational essentializing. Our psychological propensity to essentialize when nouns are used reveals a limitation for anti-essentialist ameliorative projects. Even ameliorated nouns can continue to underpin essentialist thinking. I conclude by arguing that representational essentialism does not doom anti-essentialist ameliorative projects. Rather it reveals that would-be ameliorators ought to attend to the (...)
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  12.  17
    Kindhood and Essentialism: Evidence From Language.Katherine Ritchie & Joshua Knobe - 2020 - In Marjorie Rhodes (ed.), Advances in Child Development and Behavior.
    A large body of existing research suggests that people think very differently about categories that are seen as kinds (e.g., women) and categories that are not seen as kinds (e.g., people hanging out in the park right now). Drawing on work in linguistics, we suggest that people represent these two sorts of categories using fundamentally different representational formats. Categories that are not seen as kinds are simply represented as collections of individuals. By contrast, when it comes to kinds, people have (...)
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  13. Minimal Cooperation and Group Roles.Katherine Ritchie - 2020 - In Anika Fiebich (ed.), Minimal Cooperation and Shared Agency.
    Cooperation has been analyzed primarily in the context of theories of collective intentionality. These discussions have primarily focused on interactions between pairs or small groups of agents who know one another personally. Cooperative game theory has also been used to argue for a form of cooperation in large unorganized groups. Here I consider a form of minimal cooperation that can arise among members of potentially large organized groups (e.g., corporate teams, committees, governmental bodies). I argue that members of organized groups (...)
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  14.  53
    Mallon, Ron. The Construction of Human Kinds. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016. Pp. 272. $50.00. [REVIEW]Katherine Ritchie - 2017 - Ethics 128 (2):478-482.
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    What we can do.Katherine Ritchie - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 177 (4):865-882.
    Plural first-person pronouns have often been ignored in the literature on indexicals and pronouns. The assumption seems to be that we is just the plural of I. So, we can focus on theorizing about singular indexicals and about non-indexical plurals then combine the results to yield a theory of plural indexicals. Here I argue that the “divide and conquer” strategy fails. By considering data involving plurals, generics, and complex demonstratives, I argue for a referential semantics on which we can refer (...)
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