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Natural kinds

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (2009)

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  1. Emergence and Structural Properties.Michele Paolini Paoletti - 2021 - Synthese 198 (9):8755-8778.
    I present in this article a new theory of structural properties or, more precisely, of structural kinds, such as being methane. According to this theory, structural kinds are kinds that are both emergent and sustained in their existence. In the first section, I introduce structural properties and four problems that affect the most widely held conception of them, namely, the pictorial conception. In the second section, I introduce some theses about emergence, powers, emergent powers, relations and structures that I have (...)
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  • On radical solutions in the philosophy of biology: What does “individuals thinking” actually solve?Thomas A. C. Reydon - 2019 - Synthese 198 (4):3389-3411.
    The philosophy of biology is witnessing an increasing enthusiasm for what can be called “individuals thinking”. Individuals thinking is a perspective on the metaphysics of biological entities according to which conceiving of them as individuals rather than kinds enables us to expose ongoing metaphysical debates as focusing on the wrong question, and to achieve better accounts of the metaphysics of biological entities. In this paper, I examine two cases of individuals thinking, the claim that species are individuals and the claim (...)
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  • International Handbook of Research in History, Philosophy and Science Teaching.Michael R. Matthews (ed.) - 2014 - Springer.
    This inaugural handbook documents the distinctive research field that utilizes history and philosophy in investigation of theoretical, curricular and pedagogical issues in the teaching of science and mathematics. It is contributed to by 130 researchers from 30 countries; it provides a logically structured, fully referenced guide to the ways in which science and mathematics education is, informed by the history and philosophy of these disciplines, as well as by the philosophy of education more generally. The first handbook to cover the (...)
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  • Special Issue: Philosophical Considerations in the Teaching of Biology. Part II, Evolution, Development and Genetics.Kostas Kampourakis (ed.) - 2013 - Springer (Science & Education).
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  • Putting Realism in Perspectivism.Ioannis Votsis - 2012 - Philosophica 84 (1):85-122.
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  • Categorizing Imaginary Objects.Gustavo Arroyo - 2020 - Kriterion - Journal of Philosophy 34 (1):1-20.
    Philosophers often invite their readers to categorize imaginary objects. These objects are not only hypothetical: many of them cannot exist because of physical or technological reasons. They are unprecedented or unheard-of objects. By categorizing imaginary objects, philosophers expect to gain knowledge about our concepts. In this paper, I challenge this general assumption: not every conceivable object can be described in terms of our existing categories. Although prominent philosophers held similar views in the past, they made no effort to provide a (...)
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  • Naturalism and the Problem of Normativity: The Case of Historiography.Jouni-Matti Kuukkanen - 2019 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 49 (5):331-363.
    This article tackles the problem of normativity in naturalism and considers it in the context of the philosophy of historiography. I argue that strong naturalism is inconsistent with genuine normat...
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  • How to Incorporate Non-Epistemic Values into a Theory of Classification.Thomas A. C. Reydon & Marc Ereshefsky - 2022 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 12 (1):1-28.
    Non-epistemic values play important roles in classificatory practice, such that philosophical accounts of kinds and classification should be able to accommodate them. Available accounts fail to do so, however. Our aim is to fill this lacuna by showing how non-epistemic values feature in scientific classification, and how they can be incorporated into a philosophical theory of classification and kinds. To achieve this, we present a novel account of kinds and classification, discuss examples from biological classification where non-epistemic values play decisive (...)
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  • On the Explanatory Power of Dispositional Realism.Nélida Gentile & Susana Lucero - 2021 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie:1-16.
    The article focuses on the unifying and explanatory power of the selective realism defended by Anjan Chakravartty. Our main aim is twofold. First, we critically analyse the purported synthesis between entity realism and structural realism offered by the author. We give reasons to think that this unification is an inconvenient marriage. In the second step, we deal with certain controversial aspects of the intended unification among three metaphysical concepts: causation, laws of nature and natural kinds. After pointing out that Chakravartty’s (...)
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  • The Psychological Construction of Emotion – A Non-Essentialist Philosophy of Science.Peter Zachar - 2021 - Emotion Review 14 (1):3-14.
    Emotion Review, Volume 14, Issue 1, Page 3-14, January 2022. Advocates for the psychological construction of emotion view themselves as articulating a non-essentialist alternative to basic emotion theory's essentialist notion of affect programs. Psychological constructionists have also argued that holding essentialist assumptions about emotions engenders misconceptions about the psychological constructionist viewpoint. If so, it is important to understand what psychological constructionists mean by “essentialism” and “non-essentialism.” To advance the debate, I take a deeper dive into non-essentialism, comparing the non-essentialist views (...)
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  • The transcendence of the face: A semiotic-linguistic path.Ugo Volli - 2021 - Sign Systems Studies 49 (3-4):279-297.
    This paper starts with an examination of the terms use d to designate the face in different languages, in particular in Italian, comparing these with the definitions provided by some authoritative dictionaries as well as with their etymology. This exploration yields some remarkable results: firstly, it appears that the face is indeed a term that has a material meaning, but at the same time it is a social object; secondly, the importance of the communicative function emerges, which makes the face (...)
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  • De humanos y líquenes.Davide Vecchi - 2014 - Scientiae Studia 12 (2):331-357.
    La versión estadística del concepto de naturaleza humana sigue siendo un concepto central en muchas ramas de las ciencias humanas. La clave del concepto es que existe un núcleo de fenotipos específicos que caracteriza a las especies biológicas, incluyendo la nuestra. Llamo a esta perspectiva esencialismo estadístico. Voy a sugerir que la tipicidad y la uniformidad fenotípica se consideran supuestos legítimos en muchas ciencias humanas, ya que el desarrollo biológico se interpreta como un proceso inherentemente conservador que utiliza sólo recursos (...)
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  • Social Construction, HPC Kinds, and the Projectability of Human Categories.Jonathan Y. Tsou - 2020 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 50 (2):115-137.
    This paper addresses the question of how human science categories yield projectable inferences by critically examining Ron Mallon’s ‘social role’ account of human kinds. Mallon contends that human categories are projectable when a social role produces a homeostatic property cluster (HPC) kind. On this account, human categories are projectable when various social mechanisms stabilize and entrench those categories. Mallon’s analysis obscures a distinction between transitory and robust projectable inferences. I argue that the social kinds discussed by Mallon yield the former, (...)
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  • Is resilience a normative concept?Henrik Thorén & Lennart Olsson - 2018 - Resilience: International Policies, Practices and Discourses 2 (6):112-128.
    In this paper, we engage with the question of the normative content of the resilience concept. The issues are approached in two consecutive steps. First, we proceed from a narrow construal of the resilience concept – as the ability of a system to absorb a disturbance – and show that under an analysis of normative concepts as evaluative concepts resilience comes out as descriptive. In the second part of the paper, we argue that (1) for systems of interest (primarily social (...)
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  • The Explanatory Role of Concepts.Samuel D. Taylor & Gottfried Vosgerau - 2021 - Erkenntnis 86 (5):1045-1070.
    Machery and Weiskopf argue that the kind concept is a natural kind if and only if it plays an explanatory role in cognitive scientific explanations. In this paper, we argue against this explanationist approach to determining the natural kind-hood of concept. We first demonstrate that hybrid, pluralist, and eliminativist theories of concepts afford the kind concept different explanatory roles. Then, we argue that we cannot decide between hybrid, pluralist, and eliminativist theories of concepts, because each endorses a different, but equally (...)
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  • The Modal Status of Laws: In Defence of a Hybrid View.Tuomas E. Tahko - 2015 - Philosophical Quarterly 65 (260):509-528.
    Three popular views regarding the modal status of the laws of nature are discussed: Humean Supervenience, nomic necessitation, and scientific/dispositional essentialism. These views are examined especially with regard to their take on the apparent modal force of laws and their ability to explain that modal force. It will be suggested that none of the three views, at least in their strongest form, can be maintained if some laws are metaphysically necessary, but others are metaphysically contingent. Some reasons for thinking that (...)
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  • Natural Kinds, Mind-independence, and Unification Principles.Tuomas E. Tahko - 2022 - Synthese 200 (2):1-23.
    There have been many attempts to determine what makes a natural kind real, chief among them is the criterion according to which natural kinds must be mind-independent. But it is difficult to specify this criterion: many supposed natural kinds have an element of mind-dependence. I will argue that the mind-independence criterion is nevertheless a good one, if correctly understood: the mind-independence criterion concerns the unification principles for natural kinds. Unification principles determine how natural kinds unify their properties, and only those (...)
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  • Criteria for naturalness in conceptual spaces.Corina Strößner - 2022 - Synthese 200 (2):1-36.
    Conceptual spaces are a frequently applied framework for representing concepts. One of its central aims is to find criteria for what makes a concept natural. A prominent demand is that natural concepts cover convex regions in conceptual spaces. The first aim of this paper is to analyse the convexity thesis and the arguments that have been advanced in its favour or against it. Based on this, I argue that most supporting arguments focus on single-domain concepts. Unfortunately, these concepts are not (...)
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  • A Pluralist Account of Knowledge as a Natural Kind.Andreas Stephens - 2016 - Philosophia 44 (3):885-903.
    In an attempt to address some long-standing issues of epistemology, Hilary Kornblith proposes that knowledge is a natural kind the identification of which is the unique responsibility of one particular science: cognitive ethology. As Kornblith sees it, the natural kind thus picked out is knowledge as construed by reliabilism. Yet the claim that cognitive ethology has this special role has not convinced all critics. The present article argues that knowledge plays a causal and explanatory role within many of our more (...)
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  • The Vegetative State and the Science of Consciousness.Nicholas Shea & Tim Bayne - 2010 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 61 (3):459.
    Consciousness in experimental subjects is typically inferred from reports and other forms of voluntary behaviour. A wealth of everyday experience confirms that healthy subjects do not ordinarily behave in these ways unless they are conscious. Investigation of consciousness in vegetative state patients has been based on the search for neural evidence that such broad functional capacities are preserved in some vegetative state patients. We call this the standard approach. To date, the results of the standard approach have suggested that some (...)
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  • Keeping track of what’s right.Laura Schroeter & François Schroeter - 2018 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 48 (3-4):489-509.
    In this paper, we argue that ordinary judgments about core normative topics purport to attribute stable, objective properties and relations. Our strategy is first to analyze the structures and practices characteristic of paradigmatically representational concepts such as concepts of objects and natural kinds. We identify three broad features that ground the representational purport of these concepts. We then argue that core normative concepts exhibit these same features.
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  • Dealing with the changeable and blurry edges of living things: a modified version of property-cluster kinds.María J. Ferreira Ruiz & Jon Umerez - 2018 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 8 (3):493-518.
    Despite many attempts to achieve an adequate definition of living systems by means of a set of necessary and sufficient conditions, the opinion that such an enterprise is inexorably destined to fail is increasingly gaining support. However, we believe options do not just come down to either having faith in a future success or endorsing skepticism. In this paper, we aim to redirect the discussion of the problem by shifting the focus of attention from strict definitions towards a philosophical framework (...)
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  • How Science and Semantics Settle the Issue of Natural Kind Essentialism.Christian Nimtz - 2021 - Erkenntnis 86 (1):149-170.
    Standard arguments for essentialism with respect to natural kinds such as gold, star, water or tiger enlist essentialist principles or essentialist intuitions. I argue that we need neither. All it takes to establish essentialism for the kinds in question are insights from science and semantics. Semantics establishes that natural kind predicates such as “is gold” or “is a star” are paradigm terms whose application conditions are relationally determined, object involving, and actuality dependent. Science assures us that a posteriori hypotheses such (...)
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  • Debate acutal sobre los géneros naturales desde una perspectiva lockeana.Alba Amilburu Martínez - 2016 - Agora 35 (2).
    El objetivo del presente trabajo es, por un lado, reivindicar la importancia e influencia del enfoque de Locke para la discusión sobre los géneros naturales y, por otro, mostrar cómo su visión y aportaciones en torno al sistema de clasificación natural resultan de gran utilidad para entender en profundidad la compleja geografía del debate contemporáneo sobre estos géneros. En particular, ofrecemos una interpretación según la cual las concepciones de género natural se comprenden como críticas realistas a la posición que sostiene (...)
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  • How Much Philosophy in the Philosophy of Chemistry?Alexandru Manafu - 2014 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 45 (1):33-44.
    This paper aims to show that there is a lot of philosophy in the philosophy of chemistry—not only in the problems and questions specific to chemistry, which this science brings up in philosophical discussions, but also in the topics of wider interest like reductionism and emergence, for which chemistry proves to be an ideal case study. The fact that chemical entities and properties are amenable to a quantitative understanding, to measurement and experiment to a greater extent than those in psychology (...)
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  • No purely epistemic theory can account for the naturalness of kinds.Olivier Lemeire - 2018 - Synthese 198 (Suppl 12):2907-2925.
    Several philosophers have recently tried to define natural kinds in epistemic terms only. Given the persistent problems with finding a successful metaphysical theory, these philosophers argue that we would do better to describe natural kinds solely in terms of their epistemic usefulness, such as their role in supporting inductive inferences. In this paper, I argue against these epistemology-only theories of natural kinds and in favor of, at least partly, metaphysical theories. I do so in three steps. In the first section (...)
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  • Towards Teaching Chemistry as a Language.Pierre Laszlo - 2013 - Science & Education 22 (7):1669-1706.
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  • The Empirical Identity of Moral Judgment.Victor Kumar - 2016 - Philosophical Quarterly 66 (265):783-804.
    I argue that moral judgement is a natural kind on the grounds that it plays a causal/explanatory role in psychological generalizations. I then develop an empirically grounded theory of its identity as a natural kind. I argue that moral judgement is a hybrid state of moral belief and moral emotion. This hybrid theory supports the role of moral judgement in explanations of reasoning and action and also supports its role in a dual process model of moral cognition. Although it is (...)
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  • Tropes – The Basic Constituents of Powerful Particulars.Markku Keinänen - 2011 - Dialectica 65 (3):419-450.
    This article presents a trope bundle theory of simple substances, the Strong Nuclear Theory[SNT] building on the schematic basis offered by Simons's (1994) Nuclear Theory[NT]. The SNT adopts Ellis's (2001) dispositional essentialist conception of simple substances as powerful particulars: all of their monadic properties are dispositional. Moreover, simple substances necessarily belong to some natural kind with a real essence formed by monadic properties. The SNT develops further the construction of substances the NT proposes to obtain an adequate trope bundle theory (...)
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  • Conceptual analysis and natural kinds: the case of knowledge.Joachim Horvath - 2016 - Synthese 193 (1):167-184.
    There is a line of reasoning in metaepistemology that is congenial to naturalism and hard to resist, yet ultimately misguided: that knowledge might be a natural kind, and that this would undermine the use of conceptual analysis in the theory of knowledge. In this paper, I first bring out various problems with Hilary Kornblith’s argument from the causal–explanatory indispensability of knowledge to the natural kindhood of knowledge. I then criticize the argument from the natural kindhood of knowledge against the method (...)
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  • Why we should not identify sentence structure with propositional structure.Thomas Hodgson - 2013 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 43 (5-6):612-633.
    It is a common view among philosophers of language that both propositions and sentences are structured objects. One obvious question to ask about such a view is whether there is any interesting connection between these two sorts of structure. The author identifies two theses about this relationship. Identity (ID) – the structure of a sentence and the proposition it expresses are identical. Determinism (DET) – the structure of a sentence determines the structure of the proposition it expresses. After noting that (...)
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  • Aristotle’s Pluralistic Realism.Devin Henry - 2011 - The Monist 94 (2):197-220.
    In this paper I explore Aristotle’s views on natural kinds and the compatibility of pluralism and realism, a topic that has generated considerable interest among contemporary philosophers. I argue that, when it came to zoology, Aristotle denied that there is only one way of organizing the diversity of the living world into natural kinds that will yield a single, unified system of classification. Instead, living things can be grouped and regrouped into various cross-cutting kinds on the basis of objective similarities (...)
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  • Flat Physicalism.Meir Hemmo & Orly Shenker - 2022 - Theoria 88 (4):743-764.
    This paper describes a version of type identity physicalism, which we call Flat Physicalism, and shows how it meets several objections often raised against identity theories. This identity theory is informed by recent results in the conceptual foundations of physics, and in particular clar- ifies the notion of ‘physical kinds’ in light of a conceptual analysis of the paradigmatic case of reducing thermody- namics to statistical mechanics. We show how Flat Physi- calism is compatible with the appearance of multiple realisation (...)
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  • On deriving essentialism from the theory of reference.Jussi Haukioja - 2015 - Philosophical Studies 172 (8):2141-2151.
    Causal theories of reference for natural kind terms are widely agreed to play a central role in arguments for the claim that theoretical identity statements such as “Water is H2O” are necessary, if true. However, there is also fairly wide-spread agreement, due to the arguments of Nathan Salmon, that causal theories of reference do not alone establish such essentialism about natural kinds: an independent, non-trivial essentialist premise is also needed. In this paper I will question this latter agreement. I will (...)
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  • Une ontologie dispositionnelle du risque.Olivier Grenier & Adrien Barton - 2021 - Lato Sensu: Revue de la Société de Philosophie des Sciences 8 (2):58-69.
    Risk is an ubiquitous entity in the biomedical domain. Thus, a coherent ontological characterization of risk, which can be used by informatical tools named "applied ontologies", is necessary to help with the exchange and the collection of data for clinical and research uses. We analyze some definitions of risk and draw two general characteristics that risks and dispositions share. We thus suggest that a risk is a disposition which has an undesirable realization for an agent. This definition conciliates the objective (...)
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  • In Defence of Anthropomorphic Theism.Peter Forrest - 2011 - European Journal for Philosophy of Religion 3 (1):105 - 122.
    I reply to seven objections to anthropomorphic theism: (1) That anthropomorphic theism is idolatrous. In reply I rely on the concept/conception distinction. (2) That faith requires certainty. In reply I argue that full belief may be based on probable inference. (3) That the truly infinite is incomprehensible. In reply I distinguish two senses of knowing what you mean. (4) "You Kant say that!" In reply I distinguish shallow from deep Kantianism. (5) "Shall Old Aquinas be forgot?" In reply I discuss (...)
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  • Animal morality: What is the debate about?Simon Fitzpatrick - 2017 - Biology and Philosophy 32 (6):1151-1183.
    Empirical studies of the social lives of non-human primates, cetaceans, and other social animals have prompted scientists and philosophers to debate the question of whether morality and moral cognition exists in non-human animals. Some researchers have argued that morality does exist in several animal species, others that these species may possess various evolutionary building blocks or precursors to morality, but not quite the genuine article, while some have argued that nothing remotely resembling morality can be found in any non-human species. (...)
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  • Quaderns de filosofia VI, 1.Quad Fia - 2019 - Quaderns de Filosofia 6 (1).
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  • How not to Resist the Natural Kind Talk in Biology.María J. Ferreira Ruiz - 2019 - Quaderns de Filosofia 6 (1):47.
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  • Intrinsic Interferers and the Epistemology of Dispositions.Sungho Choi - 2017 - Erkenntnis 82 (1):199-232.
    It is held by some philosophers that it is possible that x has a disposition D but, if the stimulus condition obtains, it won’t manifest D because of an intrinsic interference. I will criticize this position on the ground that it has a deeply sceptical consequence, for instance, that, assuming that I am not well informed of the micro-properties of a metal coin, I do not know that it is not water-soluble. But I urge that this is beyond the pale, (...)
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  • A Definition Framework for the Terms Nanomaterial and Nanoparticle.Max Boholm & Rickard Arvidsson - 2016 - NanoEthics 10 (1):25-40.
    Scientific writings and policy documents define the terms nanomaterial and nanoparticle in various ways. This variation is considered problematic because the absence of a shared definition is understood as potentially hindering nanomaterial knowledge production and regulation. Another view is that the existence of a shared definition may itself cause problems, as rigid definitions arguably exclude important aspects of the studied phenomena. The aim of this paper is to inform this state of disagreement by providing analytical concepts for a systematic understanding (...)
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  • Prácticas clasificatorias desde la filosofía de la ciencia: entre metafísica y epistemología.Alba Amilburu Martínez - 2019 - Daimon: Revista Internacional de Filosofía 76:125-137.
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  • Explicatures are NOT Cancellable.Alessandro Capone - 2013 - In Alessandro Capone, Franco Lo Piparo & Marco Carapezza (eds.), Perspectives on linguistic pragmatics. Springer. pp. 131-151.
    Explicatures are not cancellable. Theoretical considerations.
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  • Natural Kinds and Concepts: A Pragmatist and Methodologically Naturalistic Account.Ingo Brigandt - 2011 - In Jonathan Knowles & Henrik Rydenfelt (eds.), Pragmatism, Science and Naturalism. Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang Publishing. pp. 171–196.
    In this chapter I lay out a notion of philosophical naturalism that aligns with pragmatism. It is developed and illustrated by a presentation of my views on natural kinds and my theory of concepts. Both accounts reflect a methodological naturalism and are defended not by way of metaphysical considerations, but in terms of their philosophical fruitfulness. A core theme is that the epistemic interests of scientists have to be taken into account by any naturalistic philosophy of science in general, and (...)
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  • Philosophy of Science, Psychiatric Classification, and the DSM.Jonathan Y. Tsou - 2019 - In Şerife Tekin & Robyn Bluhm (eds.), The Bloomsbury Companion to Philosophy of Psychiatry. London: Bloomsbury. pp. 177-196.
    This chapter examines philosophical issues surrounding the classification of mental disorders by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). In particular, the chapter focuses on issues concerning the relative merits of descriptive versus theoretical approaches to psychiatric classification and whether the DSM should classify natural kinds. These issues are presented with reference to the history of the DSM, which has been published regularly by the American Psychiatric Association since 1952 and is currently in its fifth edition. While the (...)
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  • Geometric Objects and Perspectivalism.James Read - 2022 - In James Read & Nicholas J. Teh (eds.), The Philosophy and Physics of Noether's Theorems. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 257-273.
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  • How to be a Realist about Natural Kinds.P. D. Magnus - 2018 - Disputatio 7 (8).
    Although some authors hold that natural kinds are necessarily relative to disciplinary domains, many authors presume that natural kinds must be absolute, categorical features of the reality —often assuming that without even mentioning the alternative. Recognizing both possibilities, one may ask whether the difference especially matters. I argue that it does. Looking at recent arguments about natural kind realism, I argue that we can best make sense of the realism question by thinking of natural kindness as a relation that holds (...)
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  • Philosophy of Psychiatry.Jonathan Y. Tsou - 2021 - Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
    Jonathan Y. Tsou examines and defends positions on central issues in philosophy of psychiatry. The positions defended assume a naturalistic and realist perspective and are framed against skeptical perspectives on biological psychiatry. Issues addressed include the reality of mental disorders; mechanistic and disease explanations of abnormal behavior; definitions of mental disorder; natural and artificial kinds in psychiatry; biological essentialism and the projectability of psychiatric categories; looping effects and the stability of mental disorders; psychiatric classification; and the validity of the DSM's (...)
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  • Unity of Science.Tuomas E. Tahko - 2021 - Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
    Unity of science was once a very popular idea among both philosophers and scientists. But it has fallen out of fashion, largely because of its association with reductionism and the challenge from multiple realisation. Pluralism and the disunity of science are the new norm, and higher-level natural kinds and special science laws are considered to have an important role in scientific practice. What kind of reductionism does multiple realisability challenge? What does it take to reduce one phenomenon to another? How (...)
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  • Rumos da Epistemologia v. 11.Luiz Dutra & Alexandre Meyer Luz (eds.) - 2011 - Núcleo de Epistemologia e Lógica.
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