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  1. added 2020-05-29
    Searching and Classifying.Vasil Penchev - 2013 - In Vera Gancheva & Elizaria Ruskova (eds.), The XVIII century and Europe. Sofia: Унижерситетско издателство "Св. Климент Охридски". pp. 20-25.
    The text discusses Linnaeus’ binominal classification and the idea of mathesis unversalis of Leibniz in the ground of Michel Foucault’s conception of ‘epistema’ as well the connexion of XVIII century’s representation of universal order with viewpoints of Descartes (Rules for the Direction of the Mind) and Kant (The Critique of Pure Reason, The Critique of (the Power of) Judgment).
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  2. added 2020-01-30
    The New LeDoux: Survival Circuits, and the Surplus Meaning of ‘Fear’.Raamy Majeed - forthcoming - Philosophical Quarterly.
    LeDoux’s (1996) pioneering work on the neurobiology of fear has played a crucial role in informing debates in the philosophy of emotion. For example, it plays a key part in Griffiths’s (1997) argument for why emotions don’t form a natural kind. Likewise, it is employed by Faucher and Tappolet (2002) to defend pro-emotion views, which claim that emotions aid reasoning (de Sousa 1987, Damasio 1994). LeDoux, however, now argues that his work has been misread (2012, 2016, 2017, 2019). He argues (...)
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  3. added 2019-11-14
    Essential Properties Are Super-Explanatory: Taming Metaphysical Modality.Marion Godman, Antonella Mallozzi & David Papineau - forthcoming - Journal of the American Philosophical Association.
    This paper aims to build a bridge between two areas of philosophical research, the structure of kinds and metaphysical modality. Our central thesis is that kinds typically involve super-explanatory properties, and that these properties are therefore metaphysically essential to natural kinds. Philosophers of science who work on kinds tend to emphasize their complexity, and are generally resistant to any suggestion that they have “essences”. The complexities are real enough, but they should not be allowed to obscure the way that kinds (...)
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  4. added 2019-10-28
    Biological Individuals.Robert A. Wilson & Matthew J. Barker - 2019 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy 1 (1).
    The impressive variation amongst biological individuals generates many complexities in addressing the simple-sounding question what is a biological individual? A distinction between evolutionary and physiological individuals is useful in thinking about biological individuals, as is attention to the kinds of groups, such as superorganisms and species, that have sometimes been thought of as biological individuals. More fully understanding the conceptual space that biological individuals occupy also involves considering a range of other concepts, such as life, reproduction, and agency. There has (...)
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  5. added 2019-10-16
    Etiological Kinds.Muhammad Ali Khalidi - forthcoming - Philosophy of Science.
    Kinds that share historical properties are dubbed “historical kinds” or “etiological kinds” and they have some distinctive features. I will try to characterize etiological kinds in general terms and briefly survey some previous philosophical discussions of these kinds. Then I will take a closer look at a few case studies involving different types of etiological kinds. Finally, I will try to understand the rationale for classifying on the basis of etiology, putting forward reasons for classifying phenomena based on diachronic features, (...)
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  6. added 2019-06-06
    The Species Problem: A Philosophical Analysis, by Richard Richards.: Book Reviews. [REVIEW]Makmiller Pedroso - 2013 - Mind 122 (488):1180-1182.
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  7. added 2019-04-05
    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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  8. added 2019-03-08
    Grounding Knowledge and Normative Valuation in Agent-Based Action and Scientific Commitment.Catherine Elizabeth Kendig - 2018 - In Hauke Riesch, Nathan Emmerich & Steven Wainwright (eds.), Philosophies and Sociologies of Bioethics: Crossing the Divides. Cham, Switzerland: pp. 41-64.
    Philosophical investigation in synthetic biology has focused on the knowledge-seeking questions pursued, the kind of engineering techniques used, and on the ethical impact of the products produced. However, little work has been done to investigate the processes by which these epistemological, metaphysical, and ethical forms of inquiry arise in the course of synthetic biology research. An attempt at this work relying on a particular area of synthetic biology will be the aim of this chapter. I focus on the reengineering of (...)
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  9. added 2019-03-08
    John S. Wilkins and Malte C. Ebach: The Nature of Classification: Relationships and Kinds in the Natural Sciences: Palgrave, Macmillan, 2014, Pp., Vii + 197, Price £60/$100.00.Catherine Kendig - 2015 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 37 (4):477-479.
    John Wilkins and Malte Ebach respond to the dismissal of classification as something we need not concern ourselves with because it is, as Ernest Rutherford suggested, mere ‘‘stamp collecting.’’ They contend that classification is neither derivative of explanation or of hypothesis-making but is necessarily prior and prerequisite to it. Classification comes first and causal explanations are dependent upon it. As such it is an important (but neglected) area of philosophical study. Wilkins and Ebach reject Norwood Russell Hanson’s thesis that classification (...)
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  10. added 2018-11-21
    Scientific Realism with Historical Essences: The Case of Species.Marion Godman - forthcoming - Synthese:1-17.
    Natural kinds, real kinds, or, following J.S Mill simply, Kinds, are thought to be an important asset for scientific realists in the non-fundamental (or “special”) sciences. Essential natures are less in vogue. I show that the realist would do well to couple her Kinds with essential natures in order to strengthen their epistemic and ontological credentials. I argue that these essential natures need not however be intrinsic to the Kind’s members; they may be historical. I concentrate on assessing the merits (...)
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  11. added 2018-09-17
    Are Emotions Psychological Constructions?Charlie Kurth - 2019 - Philosophy of Science 86.
    According to psychological constructivism, emotions result from projecting folk emotion concepts onto felt affective episodes (e.g., Barrett 2017, LeDoux 2015). Moreover, while constructivists acknowledge there’s a biological dimension to emotion, they deny that emotions are (or involve) affect programs. So they also deny that emotions are natural kinds. However, the essential role constructivism gives to felt experience and folk concepts leads to an account that’s extensionally inadequate and functionally inaccurate. Moreover, biologically-oriented proposals that reject these commitments are not similarly encumbered. (...)
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  12. added 2018-06-19
    Where Do You Get Your Protein? Or: Biochemical Realization.Tuomas E. Tahko - 2018 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science.
    Biochemical kinds such as proteins pose interesting problems for philosophers of science, as they can be studied from the points of view of both biology and chemistry. The relationship between the biological functions of biochemical kinds and the microstructures that they are related to is the key question. This leads us to a more general discussion about ontological reductionism, microstructuralism, and multiple realization at the biology-chemistry interface. On the face of it, biochemical kinds seem to pose a challenge for ontological (...)
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  13. added 2018-04-27
    Natural Kinds.Zdenka Brzović - 2018 - Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    A large part of our exploration of the world consists in categorizing or classifying the objects and processes we encounter, both in scientific and everyday contexts. There are various, perhaps innumerable, ways to sort objects into different kinds or categories, but it is commonly assumed that, among the countless possible types of classifications, one group is privileged. Philosophy refers to such categories as natural kinds. Standard examples of such kinds include fundamental physical particles, chemical elements, and biological species. The term (...)
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  14. added 2018-03-13
    Gender as a Historical Kind: A Tale of Two Genders?Marion Godman - 2018 - Biology and Philosophy 33 (3-4):21.
    Is there anything that members of each binary category of gender have in common? Even many non-essentialists find the lack of unity within a gender worrying as it undermines the basis for a common political agenda for women. One promising proposal for achieving unity is by means of a shared historical lineage of cultural reproduction with past binary models of gender. I demonstrate how such an account is likely to take on board different binary and also non-binary systems of gender. (...)
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  15. added 2018-03-11
    Integrating History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences in Practice to Enhance Science Education: Swammerdam’s Historia Insectorum Generalis and the Case of the Water Flea.Catherine Kendig - 2013 - Science & Education 22 (8):1939-1961.
    Abstract: Hasok Chang (Sci Educ 20:317–341, 2011) shows how the recovery of past experimental knowledge, the physical replication of historical experiments, and the extension of recovered knowledge can increase scientific understanding. These activities can also play an important role in both science and history and philosophy of science education. In this paper I describe the implementation of an integrated learning project that I initiated, organized, and structured to complement a course in history and philosophy of the life sciences (HPLS). The (...)
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  16. added 2018-01-02
    Malaria Diagnosis and the Plasmodium Life Cycle: The BFO Perspective.Werner Ceusters & Barry Smith - 2010 - In Interdisciplinary Ontology. Proceedings of the Third Interdisciplinary Ontology Meeting. Tokyo: Keio University Press. pp. 25-34.
    Definitive diagnosis of malaria requires the demonstration through laboratory tests of the presence within the patient of malaria parasites or their components. Since malaria parasites can be present even in the absence of malaria manifestations, and since symptoms of malaria can be manifested even in the absence of malaria parasites, malaria diagnosis raises important issues for the adequate understanding of disease, etiology and diagnosis. One approach to the resolution of these issues adopts a realist view, according to which the needed (...)
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  17. added 2017-08-29
    Revamping the Metaphysics of Ethnobiological Classification.David Ludwig - 2018 - Current Anthropology 59 (4):415-438.
    Ethnobiology has a long tradition of metaphysical debates about the “naturalness,” “objectivity”, “reality”, and “universality” of classifications. Especially the work of Brent Berlin has been influential in developing a “convergence metaphysics” that explains cross-cultural similarities of knowledge systems through shared recognition of objective discontinuities in nature. Despite its influence on the development of the field, convergence metaphysics has largely fallen out of favor as contemporary ethnobiologists tend to emphasize the locality and diversity of classificatory practices. The aim of this article (...)
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  18. added 2017-08-07
    Are Clusters Races? A Discussion of the Rhetorical Appropriation of Rosenberg Et Al.'s “Genetic Structure of Human Populations”.Melissa Wills - 2017 - Philosophy, Theory, and Practice in Biology 9 (12).
    Noah Rosenberg et al.'s 2002 article “Genetic Structure of Human Populations” reported that multivariate genomic analysis of a large cell line panel yielded reproducible groupings (clusters) suggestive of individuals' geographical origins. The paper has been repeatedly cited as evidence that traditional notions of race have a biological basis, a claim its authors do not make. Critics of this misinterpretation have often suggested that it follows from interpreters' personal biases skewing the reception of an objective piece of scientific writing. I contend, (...)
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  19. added 2017-08-07
    Stem Cell Lineages: Between Cell and Organism.Melinda Bonnie Fagan - 2017 - Philosophy, Theory, and Practice in Biology 9 (6).
    Ontologies of living things are increasingly grounded on the concepts and practices of current life science. Biological development is a process, undergone by living things, which begins with a single cell and (in an important class of cases) ends with formation of a multicellular organism. The process of development is thus prima facie central for ideas about biological individuality and organismality. However, recent accounts of these concepts do not engage developmental biology. This paper aims to fill the gap, proposing the (...)
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  20. added 2017-05-21
    Letting Go of “Natural Kind”: Toward a Multidimensional Framework of Nonarbitrary Classification.David Ludwig - 2018 - Philosophy of Science 85 (1):31-52.
    This article uses the case study of ethnobiological classification to develop a positive and a negative thesis about the state of natural kind debates. On the one hand, I argue that current accounts of natural kinds can be integrated in a multidimensional framework that advances understanding of classificatory practices in ethnobiology. On the other hand, I argue that such a multidimensional framework does not leave any substantial work for the notion “natural kind” and that attempts to formulate a general account (...)
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  21. added 2017-01-27
    Natural Kindness.Matthew Slater - 2015 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 66 (2):375-411.
    Philosophers have long been interested in a series of interrelated questions about natural kinds. What are they? What role do they play in science and metaphysics? How do they contribute to our epistemic projects? What categories count as natural kinds? And so on. Owing, perhaps, to different starting points and emphases, we now have at hand a variety of conceptions of natural kinds—some apparently better suited than others to accommodate a particular sort of inquiry. Even if coherent, this situation isn’t (...)
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  22. added 2017-01-19
    On the Concept of Biological Race and its Applicability to Humans.Massimo Pigliucci & Jonathan Kaplan - 2003 - Philosophy of Science 70 (5):1161-1172.
    Biological research on race has often been seen as motivated by or lending credence to underlying racist attitudes; in part for this reason, recently philosophers and biologists have gone through great pains to essentially deny the existence of biological human races. We argue that human races, in the biological sense of local populations adapted to particular environments, do in fact exist; such races are best understood through the common ecological concept of ecotypes. However, human ecotypic races do not in general (...)
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  23. added 2016-10-14
    Angry Rats and Scaredy Cats: Lessons From Competing Cognitive Homologies.Isaac Wiegman - 2016 - Biological Theory 11 (4):224-240.
    There have been several recent attempts to think about psychological kinds as homologies. Nevertheless, there are serious epistemic challenges for individuating homologous psychological kinds, or cognitive homologies. Some of these challenges are revealed when we look at competing claims of cognitive homology. This paper considers two competing homology claims that compare human anger with putative aggression systems of nonhuman animals. The competition between these hypotheses has been difficult to resolve in part because of what I call the boundary problem: boundaries (...)
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  24. added 2016-09-02
    The Species Problem: A Philosophical Analysis. By Richard A. Richards. (Cambridge UP, 2010. Pp. X + 236. Price £50.00.).Catherine Kendig - 2012 - Philosophical Quarterly 62 (247):405-408.
    Book review of Richard A. Richards' The Species Problem: A Philosophical Analysis.
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  25. added 2016-03-10
    Aristotelian Essentialism: Essence in the Age of Evolution.Christopher Austin - 2017 - Synthese 194 (7):2539-2556.
    The advent of contemporary evolutionary theory ushered in the eventual decline of Aristotelian Essentialism (Æ) – for it is widely assumed that essence does not, and cannot have any proper place in the age of evolution. This paper argues that this assumption is a mistake: if Æ can be suitably evolved, it need not face extinction. In it, I claim that if that theory’s fundamental ontology consists of dispositional properties, and if its characteristic metaphysical machinery is interpreted within the framework (...)
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  26. added 2016-02-15
    Biological Explanations, Realism, Ontology, and Categories.Matthew J. Barker - 2013 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 44 (4):617-622.
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  27. added 2016-02-15
    Cohesion, Gene Flow, and the Nature of Species.Matthew J. Barker & Robert A. Wilson - 2010 - Journal of Philosophy 107 (2):59-77.
    A far-reaching and influential view in evolutionary biology claims that species are cohesive units held together by gene flow. Biologists have recognized empirical problems facing this view; after sharpening the expression of the view, we present novel conceptual problems for it. At the heart of these problems is a distinction between two importantly different concepts of cohesion, what we call integrative and response cohesion. Acknowledging the distinction problematizes both the explanandum of species cohesion and the explanans of gene flow that (...)
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  28. added 2015-11-20
    Ontological Choices and the Value-Free Ideal.David Ludwig - 2015 - Erkenntnis (6):1-20.
    The aim of this article is to argue that ontological choices in scientific practice undermine common formulations of the value-free ideal in science. First, I argue that the truth values of scientific statements depend on ontological choices. For example, statements about entities such as species, race, memory, intelligence, depression, or obesity are true or false relative to the choice of a biological, psychological, or medical ontology. Second, I show that ontological choices often depend on non-epistemic values. On the basis of (...)
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  29. added 2015-10-25
    Are Psychiatric Kinds Real?Helen Beebee & Nigel Sabbarton-Leary - 2010 - European Journal of Analytic Philosophy 6 (1):11-27.
    The paper considers whether psychiatric kinds can be natural kinds and concludes that they can. This depends, however, on a particular conception of ‘natural kind’. We briefly describe and reject two standard accounts – what we call the ‘stipulative account’ (according to which apparently a priori criteria, such as the possession of intrinsic essences, are laid down for natural kindhood) and the ‘Kripkean account’ (according to which the natural kinds are just those kinds that obey Kripkean semantics). We then rehearse (...)
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  30. added 2015-09-16
    ¿Qué son realmente las especies? La búsqueda de clases naturales en biología.Santiago Ginnobili - 2005 - Análisis Filosófico 25 (1):45-61.
    En What Emotions Really Are y en otros artículos, Griffiths afirma que las clases naturales de los organismos vivos en Biología son cladistas. La afirmación está inmersa en una nueva teoría acerca de las clases naturales. En este trabajo examinaré los argumentos esgrimidos por Griffiths para sostener el estatus privilegiado de las clasificaciones cladistas frente a otras clasificaciones. No se discutirá la teoría de las clases naturales ofrecida, de cuyos méritos no dudo, sino su capacidad para ofrecer una solución en (...)
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  31. added 2015-01-15
    Scientific Essentialism in the Light of Classification Practice in Biology – a Case Study of Phytosociology.Adam P. Kubiak & Rafał R. Wodzisz - 2012 - Zagadnienia Naukoznawstwa 48 (194):231-250.
    In our paper we investigate a difficulty arising when one tries to reconsiliateessentialis t’s thinking with classification practice in the biological sciences. The article outlinessome varieties of essentialism with particular attention to the version defended by Brian Ellis. Weunderline the basic difference: Ellis thinks that essentialism is not a viable position in biology dueto its incompatibility with biological typology and other essentialists think that these two elementscan be reconciled. However, both parties have in common metaphysical starting point and theylack explicit (...)
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  32. added 2014-11-15
    Indigenous and Scientific Kinds.David Ludwig - 2017 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 68 (1).
    The aim of this article is to discuss the relation between indigenous and scientific kinds on the basis of contemporary ethnobiological research. I argue that ethnobiological accounts of taxonomic convergence-divergence patters challenge common philosophical models of the relation between folk concepts and natural kinds. Furthermore, I outline a positive model of taxonomic convergence-divergence patterns that is based on Slater's [2014] notion of “stable property clusters” and Franklin-Hall's [2014] discussion of natural kinds as “categorical bottlenecks.” Finally, I argue that this model (...)
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  33. added 2014-10-05
    Against the New Metaphysics of Race.David Ludwig - 2015 - Philosophy of Science 82 (2):244-265.
    The aim of this article is to develop an argument against metaphysical debates about the existence of human races. I argue that the ontology of race is underdetermined by both empirical and non-empirical evidence due to a plurality of equally permissible candidate meanings of "race." Furthermore, I argue that this underdetermination leads to a deflationist diagnosis according to #hich disputes about the existence of human races are non-substantive verbal disputes. $hile this diagnosis resembles general deflationist strategies in contemporary metaphysics" I (...)
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  34. added 2014-10-05
    Clines, Clusters, and Clades in the Race Debate.Matthew Kopec - 2014 - Philosophy of Science 81 (5):1053-1065.
    Although there once was a general consensus among race scholars that applying race categories to humans is biologically illegitimate, this consensus has been erased over the past decade. This is largely due to advances in population genetics that allow biologists to pick out genetic population clusters that approximate some of our common sense racial categories. In this paper, I argue that this new ability really ought not undermine our confidence in the biological illegitimacy of the human races. Unfortunately, the claim (...)
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  35. added 2014-04-07
    Biochemical Kinds.Jordan Bartol - 2014 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science (2):axu046.
    Chemical kinds (e.g. gold) are generally treated as having timelessly fixed identities. Biological kinds (e.g. goldfinches) are generally treated as evolved and/or evolving entities. So what kind of kind is a biochemical kind? This paper defends the thesis that biochemical molecules are clustered chemical kinds, some of which–namely, evolutionarily conserved units–are also biological kinds.On this thesis, a number of difficulties that have recently occupied philosophers concerned with proteins and kinds are shown to be resolved or dissolved.
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  36. added 2014-04-03
    Informationally-Connected Property Clusters, and Polymorphism.Manolo Martínez - 2015 - Biology and Philosophy 30 (1):99-117.
    I present and defend a novel version of the homeostatic property cluster account of natural kinds. The core of the proposal is a development of the notion of co-occurrence, central to the HPC account, along information-theoretic lines. The resulting theory retains all the appealing features of the original formulation, while increasing its explanatory power, and formal perspicuity. I showcase the theory by applying it to the problem of reconciling the thesis that biological species are natural kinds with the fact that (...)
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  37. added 2014-04-02
    A Property Cluster Theory of Cognition.Cameron Buckner - 2013 - Philosophical Psychology (3):1-30.
    Our prominent definitions of cognition are too vague and lack empirical grounding. They have not kept up with recent developments, and cannot bear the weight placed on them across many different debates. I here articulate and defend a more adequate theory. On this theory, behaviors under the control of cognition tend to display a cluster of characteristic properties, a cluster which tends to be absent from behaviors produced by non-cognitive processes. This cluster is reverse-engineered from the empirical tests that comparative (...)
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  38. added 2014-03-26
    Millikan and Her Critics.Dan Ryder, Justine Kingsbury & Kenneth Williford (eds.) - 2013 - Wiley.
    Millikan and Her Critics offers a unique critical discussion of Ruth Millikan's highly regarded, influential, and systematic contributions to philosophy of mind and language, philosophy of biology, epistemology, and metaphysics. These newly written contributions present discussion from some of the most important philosophers in the field today and include replies from Millikan herself.
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  39. added 2014-03-26
    Scientific Enquiry and Natural Kinds: From Planets to Mallards.P. D. Magnus - 2012 - Palgrave-Macmillan.
    Some scientific categories seem to correspond to genuine features of the world and are indispensable for successful science in some domain; in short, they are natural kinds. This book gives a general account of what it is to be a natural kind and puts the account to work illuminating numerous specific examples.
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  40. added 2014-03-25
    Promiscuous Realism.R. A. Wilson - 1996 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 47 (2):303-316.
    This paper is a critical discussion of John Dupré's recent defence of promiscuous realism in Part 1 of his The Disorder of Things: Metaphysical Foundations of the Disunity of Science. It also discusses some more general issues in the philosophy of biology and science. Dupré's chief strategy of argumentation appeals to debates within the philosophy of biology, all of which concern the nature of species. While the strategy is well motivated, I argue that Dupré's challenge to essentialist and unificationist views (...)
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  41. added 2014-03-16
    Biometaphysics.Barry Smith - 2009 - In Robin Le Poidevin, Peter Simons, Andrew McGonigal & Ross Cameron (eds.), The Routledge Companion to Metaphysics. Routledge. pp. 537-544.
    While Darwin is commonly supposed to have demonstrated the inapplicability of the Aristotelian ontology of species to biological science, recent developments, especially in the wake of the Human Genome Project, have given rise to a new golden age of classification in which ontological ideas -- as for example in the Gene Ontology, the Cell Ontology, the Protein Ontology, and so forth -- are once again playing an important role. In regard to species, on the other hand, matters are more complex. (...)
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  42. added 2014-03-10
    Gender Is a Natural Kind with a Historical Essence.Theodore Bach - 2012 - Ethics 122 (2):231-272.
    Traditional debate on the metaphysics of gender has been a contrast of essentialist and social-constructionist positions. The standard reaction to this opposition is that neither position alone has the theoretical resources required to satisfy an equitable politics. This has caused a number of theorists to suggest ways in which gender is unified on the basis of social rather than biological characteristics but is “real” or “objective” nonetheless – a position I term social objectivism. This essay begins by making explicit the (...)
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  43. added 2014-03-09
    When Traditional Essentialism Fails.Robert A. Wilson, Matthew J. Barker & Ingo Brigandt - 2007 - Philosophical Topics 35 (1-2):189-215.
    Essentialism is widely regarded as a mistaken view of biological kinds, such as species. After recounting why (sections 2-3), we provide a brief survey of the chief responses to the “death of essentialism” in the philosophy of biology (section 4). We then develop one of these responses, the claim that biological kinds are homeostatic property clusters (sections 5-6) illustrating this view with several novel examples (section 7). Although this view was first expressed 20 years ago, and has received recent discussion (...)
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  44. added 2014-03-07
    Race: A Social Destruction of a Biological Concept.Neven Sesardic - 2010 - Biology and Philosophy 25 (2):143-162.
    It is nowadays a dominant opinion in a number of disciplines (anthropology, genetics, psychology, philosophy of science) that the taxonomy of human races does not make much biological sense. My aim is to challenge the arguments that are usually thought to invalidate the biological concept of race. I will try to show that the way “race” was defined by biologists several decades ago (by Dobzhansky and others) is in no way discredited by conceptual criticisms that are now fashionable and widely (...)
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  45. added 2014-03-04
    Drakes, Seadevils, and Similarity Fetishism.P. D. Magnus - 2011 - Biology and Philosophy 26 (6):857-870.
    Homeostatic property clusters (HPCs) are offered as a way of understanding natural kinds, especially biological species. I review the HPC approach and then discuss an objection by Ereshefsky and Matthen, to the effect that an HPC qua cluster seems ill-fitted as a description of a polymorphic species. The standard response by champions of the HPC approach is to say that all members of a polymorphic species have things in common, namely dispositions or conditional properties. I argue that this response fails. (...)
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  46. added 2013-11-14
    Empty Natural Kind Terms and Dry Earth.Corine Besson - 2012 - Erkenntnis 76 (3):403-425.
    This paper considers the problem of assigning meanings to empty natural kind terms. It does so in the context of the Twin-Earth externalist-internalist debate about whether the meanings of natural kind terms are individuated by the external physical environment of the speakers using these terms. The paper clarifies and outlines the different ways in which meanings could be assigned to empty natural kind terms. And it argues that externalists do not have the semantic resources to assign them meanings. The paper (...)
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  47. added 2013-11-11
    Cell Types as Natural Kinds.Matthew H. Slater - 2013 - Biological Theory 7 (2):170-179.
    Talk of different types of cells is commonplace in the biological sciences. We know a great deal, for example, about human muscle cells by studying the same type of cells in mice. Information about cell type is apparently largely projectible across species boundaries. But what defines cell type? Do cells come pre-packaged into different natural kinds? Philosophical attention to these questions has been extremely limited [see e.g., Wilson (Species: New Interdisciplinary Essays, pp 187–207, 1999; Genes and the Agents of Life, (...)
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  48. added 2013-11-04
    Framework for a Protein Ontology.Darren A. Natale, Cecilia N. Arighi, Winona Barker, Judith Blake, Ti-Cheng Chang, Zhangzhi Hu, Hongfang Liu, Barry Smith & Cathy H. Wu - 2007 - BMC Bioinformatics 8 (Suppl 9):S1.
    Biomedical ontologies are emerging as critical tools in genomic and proteomic research where complex data in disparate resources need to be integrated. A number of ontologies exist that describe the properties that can be attributed to proteins; for example, protein functions are described by Gene Ontology, while human diseases are described by Disease Ontology. There is, however, a gap in the current set of ontologies—one that describes the protein entities themselves and their relationships. We have designed a PRotein Ontology (PRO) (...)
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  49. added 2013-11-03
    What Are We to Make of the Concept of Race? Thoughts of a Philosopher–Scientist.Massimo Pigliucci - 2013 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 44 (3):272-277.
    Discussions about the biological bases (or lack thereof) of the concept of race in the human species seem to be never ending. One of the latest rounds is represented by a paper by Neven Sesardic, which attempts to build a strong scientific case for the existence of human races, based on genetic, morphometric and behavioral characteristics, as well as on a thorough critique of opposing positions. In this paper I show that Sesardic’s critique falls far short of the goal, and (...)
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  50. added 2013-11-02
    “Population” Is Not a Natural Kind of Kinds.Jacob Stegenga - 2010 - Biological Theory 5 (2):154–160.
    Millstein argues against conceptual pluralism with respect to the definition of “population,” and proposes her own definition of the term. I challenge both Millstein’s negative arguments against conceptual pluralism and her positive proposal for a singular definition of population. The concept of population, I argue, does not refer to a natural kind; populations are constructs of biologists variably defined by contexts of inquiry.
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