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Laura Franklin-Hall
New York University
  1. Natural Kinds as Categorical Bottlenecks.Laura Franklin-Hall - 2015 - Philosophical Studies 172 (4):925-948.
    Both realist and anti-realist accounts of natural kinds possess prima facie virtues: realists can straightforwardly make sense of the apparent objectivity of the natural kinds, and anti-realists, their knowability. This paper formulates a properly anti-realist account designed to capture both merits. In particular, it recommends understanding natural kinds as ‘categorical bottlenecks,’ those categories that not only best serve us, with our idiosyncratic aims and cognitive capacities, but also those of a wide range of alternative agents. By endorsing an ultimately subjective (...)
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  2. The Animal Sexes as Historical Explanatory Kinds.Laura Franklin-Hall - forthcoming - In Shamik Dasgupta & Brad Weslake (eds.), Current Controversies in Philosophy of Science. Routledge.
    Though biologists identify individuals as ‘male’ or ‘female’ across a broad range of animal species, the particular traits exhibited by males and females can vary tremendously. This diversity has led some to conclude that cross-animal sexes (males, or females, of whatever animal species) have “little or no explanatory power” (Dupré 1986: 447) and, thus, are not natural kinds in any traditional sense. This essay will explore considerations for and against this conclusion, ultimately arguing that the animal sexes, properly understood, are (...)
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    The Causal Economy Approach to Scientific Explanation.Laura Franklin-Hall - forthcoming - Minnesota Studies in the Philosophy of Science.
    This paper sketches a causal account of scientific explanation designed to sustain the judgment that high-level, detail-sparse explanations—particularly those offered in biology—can be at least as explanatorily valuable as lower-level counterparts. The motivating idea is that complete explanations maximize causal economy: they cite those aspects of an event’s causal run-up that offer the biggest-bang-for-your-buck, by costing less (in virtue of being abstract) and delivering more (in virtue making the event stable or robust).
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  4. Plato's Joints.Laura Franklin-Hall - unknown
    Plato’s often-quoted statement in the Phaedrus that we should “cut up each kind according to its species along its natural joints” (265e) has become an influential metaphor in discussions of natural kinds and natural properties. In this essay, I investigate the source domain of the metaphor, the joints of the animal body, to determine if these joints are indeed “natural”—meaning that there exists a single, non-disjunctive account of joint-hood applicable to the osteological world. By examining animal joints from the perspective (...)
     
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    Il macellaio di Platone [English Title: Plato's Joints].Laura Franklin-Hall - 2009 - Rivista di Estetica 41:11-37.
    Plato‘s often-quoted statement in the Phaedrus that we should 'cut up each kind according to its species along its natural joints' (265e) has been an influential metaphor in discussions of natural kinds. In this essay, I investigate the source domain of the metaphor, the joints of the animal body, to determine whether, as users of the metaphor often assume, there is just one scientifically legitimate division of the body into component skeletal parts. Through an examination of animal joints from the (...)
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  6. Plato's Joints – Job Talk (Version 1/18/08).Laura Franklin-Hall - unknown
    Plato’s Socrates says in the Phaedrus that we should “cut up each kind according to its species along its natural joints, and to try not to splinter any part, as a bad butcher might” (265e). In the Statesman Plato’s interlocutors make the similar suggestion that kinds should be divided from one another “limb by limb, like a sacrificial animal” (287c). This jointing metaphor is often used to illustrate the divisibility of the natural world into objective kinds or natural categories—such as (...)
     
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