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  1. 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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  • The Realism of Taxonomic Pluralism.Ka Ho Lam - 2020 - Metaphysics 3 (1):1-16.
    In this paper, I present a critique of taxonomic pluralism, namely the view that there are multiple correct ways to classify entities into natural kinds within a given scientific domain. I argue that taxonomic pluralism, as an anti-essentialist position, fails to provide a realist alternative to taxonomic monism, i.e., the view that there is only one correct way to classify entities into natural kinds within a given scientific domain. To establish my argument, I first explain why the naturalist approach to (...)
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  • How to Philosophically Tackle Kinds Without Talking About ‘Natural Kinds’.Ingo Brigandt - 2020 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy:1-24.
    Recent rival attempts in the philosophy of science to put forward a general theory of the properties that all (and only) natural kinds across the sciences possess may have proven to be futile. Instead, I develop a general methodological framework for how to philosophically study kinds. Any kind has to be investigated and articulated together with the human aims that motivate referring to this kind, where different kinds in the same scientific domain can answer to different concrete aims. My core (...)
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  • Scientific Kinds.Marc Ereshefsky & Thomas A. C. Reydon - 2015 - Philosophical Studies 172 (4):969-986.
    Richard Boyd’s Homeostatic Property Cluster Theory is becoming the received view of natural kinds in the philosophy of science. However, a problem with HPC Theory is that it neglects many kinds highlighted by scientific classifications while at the same time endorsing kinds rejected by science. In other words, there is a mismatch between HPC kinds and the kinds of science. An adequate account of natural kinds should accurately track the classifications of successful science. We offer an alternative account of natural (...)
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  • Are Homologies Really Natural Kinds?Christopher H. Pearson - 2019 - Biology and Philosophy 34 (4):42.
    The metaphysical nature of homologies has been variously characterized as natural kind, individualist, and pluralist-pragmatic. In this essay, I aim to build on the work of proponents of a natural kinds ontology for homologies using Richard Boyd’s influential HPC account of natural kinds. I aim to advance this position by showing the unique fit of extending the HPC account to homologies, deflecting individualist critiques, as well as the pluralist-pragmatic alternative, showing that homologies have a determinate metaphysical character as kinds. As (...)
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  • Limitations of Natural Kind Talk in the Life Sciences: Homology and Other Cases. [REVIEW]Miles MacLeod - 2013 - Biological Theory 7 (2):109-120.
    The aim of this article is to detail some reservations against the beliefs, claims, or presuppositions that current essentialist natural kind concepts (including homeostatic property cluster kinds) model grouping practices in the life sciences accurately and generally. Such concepts fit reasoning into particular preconceived epistemic and semantic patterns. The ability of these patterns to fit scientific practice is often argued in support of homeostatic property cluster accounts, yet there are reasons to think that in the life sciences kind concepts exhibit (...)
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  • Natural Kinds in Philosophy and in the Life Sciences: Scholastic Twilight or New Dawn? [REVIEW]Miles MacLeod & Thomas A. C. Reydon - 2013 - Biological Theory 7 (2):89-99.
    This article, which is intended both as a position paper in the philosophical debate on natural kinds and as the guest editorial to this thematic issue, takes up the challenge posed by Ian Hacking in his paper, “Natural Kinds: Rosy Dawn, Scholastic Twilight.” Whereas a straightforward interpretation of that paper suggests that according to Hacking the concept of natural kinds should be abandoned, both in the philosophy of science and in philosophy more generally, we suggest that an alternative and less (...)
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  • Life as a Homeostatic Property Cluster.Antonio Diéguez - 2013 - Biological Theory 7 (2):180-186.
    All of the attempts to date to find a set of necessary and sufficient conditions for life, in order to provide an essential definition of life, have failed. We only have at our disposal series of lists that contain diverse characteristics usually found in living beings. Some authors have drawn from this fact the conclusion that life is not a natural kind. It will be argued here that this conclusion is too hasty and that if life is understood as a (...)
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  • Biological Individuals and Natural Kinds.Olivier Rieppel - 2013 - Biological Theory 7 (2):162-169.
    This paper takes a hierarchical approach to the question whether species are individuals or natural kinds. The thesis defended here is that species are spatiotemporally located complex wholes (individuals), that are composed of (i.e., include) causally interdependent parts, which collectively also instantiate a homeostatic property cluster (HPC) natural kind. Species may form open or closed genetic systems that are dynamic in nature, that have fuzzy boundaries due to the processual nature of speciation, that may have leaky boundaries as is manifest (...)
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  • Classificatory Theory in Biology.Sabina Leonelli - 2013 - Biological Theory 7 (4):338-345.
    Scientific classification has long been recognized as involving a specific style of reasoning and doing research, and as occasionally affecting the development of scientific theories. However, the role played by classificatory activities in generating theories has not been closely investigated within the philosophy of science. I argue that classificatory systems can themselves become a form of theory, which I call classificatory theory, when they come to formalize and express the scientific significance of the elements being classified. This is particularly evident (...)
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  • Technological Biology? Things and Kinds in Synthetic Biology.Pablo Schyfter - 2012 - Biology and Philosophy 27 (1):29-48.
    Social scientific and humanistic research on synthetic biology has focused quite narrowly on questions of epistemology and ELSI. I suggest that to understand this discipline in its full scope, researchers must turn to the objects of the field—synthetic biological artifacts—and study them as the objects in the making of a science yet to be made. I consider one fundamentally important question: how should we understand the material products of synthetic biology? Practitioners in the field, employing a consistent technological optic in (...)
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  • Complexity Begets Crosscutting, Dooms Hierarchy.Joyce C. Havstad - forthcoming - Synthese:1-32.
    There is a perennial philosophical dream of a certain natural order for the natural kinds. The name of this dream is ‘the hierarchy requirement’. According to this postulate, proper natural kinds form a taxonomy which is both unique and traditional. Here I demonstrate that complex scientific objects exist: objects which generate different systems of scientific classification, produce myriad legitimate alternatives amongst the nonetheless still natural kinds, and make the hierarchical dream impossible to realize, except at absurdly great cost. Philosophical hopes (...)
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  • Teleosemantics and Indeterminacy.Manolo Martínez - 2013 - Dialectica 67 (4):427-453.
    In the first part of the paper, I present a framework for the description and evaluation of teleosemantic theories of intentionality, and use it to argue that several different objections to these theories (the various indeterminacy and adequacy problems) are, in a certain precise sense, manifestations of the same underlying issue. I then use the framework to show that Millikan's biosemantics, her own recent declarations to the contrary notwithtanding, presents indeterminacy. In the second part, I develop a novel teleosemantic proposal (...)
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  • 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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  • The Causal Homology Concept.Jun Otsuka - 2017 - Philosophy of Science 84 (5):1128-1139.
    I propose a new account of homology, according to which homology is a correspondence of developmental mechanisms due to common ancestry, formally defined as an isomorphism of causal graphs over lineages. The semiformal definition highlights the role of homology as a higher-order principle unifying evolutionary models and also provides definite meanings to concepts like constraints, evolvability, and novelty. The novel interpretation of homology suggests a broad perspective that accommodates evolutionary developmental biology and traditional population genetics as distinct but complementary approaches (...)
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  • A Naturalistic Account of Content and an Application to Modal Epistemology.Manolo Martínez - 2010 - Dissertation, Universitat de Barcelona
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  • 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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  • A Biologically Informed Hylomorphism.Christopher J. Austin - 2017 - In William M. R. Simpson, Robert C. Koons & Nicholas J. Teh (eds.), Neo-Aristotelian Perspectives on Contemporary Science. Routledge. pp. 185-210.
    Although contemporary metaphysics has recently undergone a neo-Aristotelian revival wherein dispositions, or capacities are now commonplace in empirically grounded ontologies, being routinely utilised in theories of causality and modality, a central Aristotelian concept has yet to be given serious attention – the doctrine of hylomorphism. The reason for this is clear: while the Aristotelian ontological distinction between actuality and potentiality has proven to be a fruitful conceptual framework with which to model the operation of the natural world, the distinction between (...)
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  • The Importance of Homology for Biology and Philosophy.Ingo Brigandt & Paul Edmund Griffiths - 2007 - Biology and Philosophy 22 (5):633-641.
    Editors' introduction to the special issue on homology (Biology and Philosophy Vol. 22, Issue 5, 2007).
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  • Gene Names as Proper Names of Individuals: An Assessment.Thomas A. C. Reydon - 2009 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 60 (2):409-432.
    According to a recent suggestion, the names of gene taxa should be conceived of as referring to individuals with concrete genes as their parts, just as the names of biological species are often understood as denoting individuals with organisms as their parts. Although prima facie this suggestion might advance the debate on gene concepts in a similar way as the species-are-individuals thesis advanced the debate on species concepts, I argue that the principal arguments in support of the gene-individuality thesis are (...)
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  • 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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  • Explanation in Biology: Reduction, Pluralism, and Explanatory Aims.Ingo Brigandt - 2011 - Science & Education 22 (1):69-91.
    This essay analyzes and develops recent views about explanation in biology. Philosophers of biology have parted with the received deductive-nomological model of scientific explanation primarily by attempting to capture actual biological theorizing and practice. This includes an endorsement of different kinds of explanation (e.g., mathematical and causal-mechanistic), a joint study of discovery and explanation, and an abandonment of models of theory reduction in favor of accounts of explanatory reduction. Of particular current interest are philosophical accounts of complex explanations that appeal (...)
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  • Conservative Reduction of Biology.Christian Sachse - 2011 - Philosophia Naturalis 48 (1):33-65.
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  • Philosophy of Biology.Ingo Brigandt - 2011 - In Steven French & Juha Saatsi (eds.), The Bloomsbury Companion to the Philosophy of Science. London: Bloomsbury Academic. pp. 246-267.
    This overview of philosophy of biology lays out what implications biology and recent philosophy of biology have for general philosophy of science. The following topics are addressed in five sections: natural kinds, conceptual change, discovery and confirmation, explanation and reduction, and naturalism.
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  • A Tale of Two Minds: Past, Present and Future.Yuichi Amitani - 2016 - Annals of the Japan Association for Philosophy of Science 24:21-43.
    The dual process theory is a view that there are two information-processing systems in our mind. It has been popular in cognitive and social psychology for the last few decades, but this simplified formulation of the theory has problems. In this paper I shall review the recent developments made by the dual process theorists to meet those challenges and indicate the directions the theory could take. In particular I shall discuss possible defining properties or mechanisms of the two systems. I (...)
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  • The Series, the Network, and the Tree: Changing Metaphors of Order in Nature.Olivier Rieppel - 2010 - Biology and Philosophy 25 (4):475-496.
    The history of biological systematics documents a continuing tension between classifications in terms of nested hierarchies congruent with branching diagrams (the ‘Tree of Life’) versus reticulated relations. The recognition of conflicting character distribution led to the dissolution of the scala naturae into reticulated systems, which were then transformed into phylogenetic trees by the addition of a vertical axis. The cladistic revolution in systematics resulted in a representation of phylogeny as a strictly bifurcating pattern (cladogram). Due to the ubiquity of character (...)
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  • Part-Whole Science.Rasmus Grønfeldt Winther - 2011 - Synthese 178 (3):397-427.
    A scientific explanatory project, part-whole explanation, and a kind of science, part-whole science are premised on identifying, investigating, and using parts and wholes. In the biological sciences, mechanistic, structuralist, and historical explanations are part-whole explanations. Each expresses different norms, explananda, and aims. Each is associated with a distinct partitioning frame for abstracting kinds of parts. These three explanatory projects can be complemented in order to provide an integrative vision of the whole system, as is shown for a detailed case study: (...)
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  • Recent Work in The Philosophy of Biology.Christopher J. Austin - 2017 - Analysis 77 (2):anx032.
    The biological sciences have always proven a fertile ground for philosophical analysis, one from which has grown a rich tradition stemming from Aristotle and flowering with Darwin. And although contemporary philosophy is increasingly becoming conceptually entwined with the study of the empirical sciences with the data of the latter now being regularly utilised in the establishment and defence of the frameworks of the former, a practice especially prominent in the philosophy of physics, the development of that tradition hasn’t received the (...)
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  • Replacing Functional Reduction with Mechanistic Explanation.Markus I. Eronen - 2011 - Philosophia Naturalis 48 (1):125-153.
    Recently the functional model of reduction has become something like the standard model of reduction in philosophy of mind. In this paper, I argue that the functional model fails as an account of reduction due to problems related to three key concepts: functionalization, realization and causation. I further argue that if we try to revise the model in order to make it more coherent and scientifically plausible, the result is merely a simplified version of what in philosophy of science is (...)
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  • How to Fix Kind Membership: A Problem for Hpc Theory and a Solution.Thomas Reydon - 2009 - Philosophy of Science 76 (5):724-736.
    Natural kinds are often contrasted with other kinds of scientific kinds, especially functional kinds, because of a presumed categorical difference in explanatory value: supposedly, natural kinds can ground explanations, while other kinds of kinds cannot. I argue against this view of natural kinds by examining a particular type of explanation—mechanistic explanation—and showing that functional kinds do the same work there as traditionally recognized natural kinds are supposed to do in “standard” scientific explanations. Breaking down this categorical distinction between traditional natural (...)
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  • Evo-Devo: A Science of Dispositions.Christopher Austin - 2017 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 7 (2):373-389.
    Evolutionary developmental biology represents a paradigm shift in the understanding of the ontogenesis and evolutionary progression of the denizens of the natural world. Given the empirical successes of the evo-devo framework, and its now widespread acceptance, a timely and important task for the philosophy of biology is to critically discern the ontological commitments of that framework and assess whether and to what extent our current metaphysical models are able to accommodate them. In this paper, I argue that one particular model (...)
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  • Species Pluralism: Conceptual, Ontological, and Practical Dimensions.Bzovy Justin - unknown
    Species are central to biology, but there is currently no agreement on what the adequate species concept should be, and many have adopted a pluralist stance: different species concepts will be required for different purposes. This thesis is a multidimensional analysis of species pluralism. First I explicate how pluralism differs monism and relativism. I then consider the history of species pluralism. I argue that we must re-frame the species problem, and that re-evaluating Aristotle's role in the histories of systematics can (...)
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  • What's Wrong with the New Biological Essentialism.Marc Ereshefsky - 2010 - Philosophy of Science 77 (5):674-685.
    The received view in the philosophy of biology is that biological taxa (species and higher taxa) do not have essences. Recently, some philosophers (Boyd, Devitt, Griffiths, LaPorte, Okasha, and Wilson) have suggested new forms of biological essentialism. They argue that according to these new forms of essentialism, biological taxa do have essences. This article critically evaluates the new biological essentialism. This article’s thesis is that the costs of adopting the new biological essentialism are many, yet the benefits are none, so (...)
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  • Classificatory Theory in Data-Intensive Science: The Case of Open Biomedical Ontologies.Sabina Leonelli - 2012 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 26 (1):47 - 65.
    Knowledge-making practices in biology are being strongly affected by the availability of data on an unprecedented scale, the insistence on systemic approaches and growing reliance on bioinformatics and digital infrastructures. What role does theory play within data-intensive science, and what does that tell us about scientific theories in general? To answer these questions, I focus on Open Biomedical Ontologies, digital classification tools that have become crucial to sharing results across research contexts in the biological and biomedical sciences, and argue that (...)
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  • Scientific Reasoning Is Material Inference: Combining Confirmation, Discovery, and Explanation.Ingo Brigandt - 2010 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 24 (1):31-43.
    Whereas an inference (deductive as well as inductive) is usually viewed as being valid in virtue of its argument form, the present paper argues that scientific reasoning is material inference, i.e., justified in virtue of its content. A material inference is licensed by the empirical content embodied in the concepts contained in the premises and conclusion. Understanding scientific reasoning as material inference has the advantage of combining different aspects of scientific reasoning, such as confirmation, discovery, and explanation. This approach explains (...)
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  • Homology: Homeostatic Property Cluster Kinds in Systematics and Evolution.Leandro Assis & Ingo Brigandt - 2009 - Evolutionary Biology 36:248-255.
    Taxa and homologues can in our view be construed both as kinds and as individuals. However, the conceptualization of taxa as natural kinds in the sense of homeostatic property cluster kinds has been criticized by some systematists, as it seems that even such kinds cannot evolve due to their being homeostatic. We reply by arguing that the treatment of transformational and taxic homologies, respectively, as dynamic and static aspects of the same homeostatic property cluster kind represents a good perspective for (...)
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  • Realization in Biology?Sergio Balari & Guillermo Lorenzo - 2019 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 41 (1):5.
    It is widely assumed that functional and dispositional properties are not identical to their physical base, but that there is some kind of asymmetrical ontological dependence between them. In this regard, a popular idea is that the former are realized by the latter, which, under the non-identity assumption, is generally understood to be a non-causal, constitutive relation. In this paper we examine two of the most widely accepted approaches to realization, the so-called ‘flat view’ and the ‘dimensioned view’, and we (...)
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  • The Use of Natural Kinds in Evolutionary Developmental Biology.Jessica Bolker - 2013 - Biological Theory 7 (2):121-129.
    Evolutionary developmental biologists categorize many different kinds of things, from ontogenetic stages to modules of gene activity. The process of categorization—the establishment of “kinds”—is an implicit part of describing the natural world in consistent, useful ways, and has an essentially practical rather than philosophical basis. Kinds commonly serve one of three purposes: they may function (1) as practical tools for communication; (2) to support prediction and generalization; or (3) as a basis for theoretical discussions. Beyond the minimal requirement that classifications (...)
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  • Homology and the Evolutionary Process: Reply to Haig, Love and Brown on “Homology, Genes and Evolutionary Innovation”.Günter P. Wagner - 2015 - Biology and Philosophy 30 (6):901-912.
    This paper responds to the essay reviews by David Haig, Alan Love and Rachel Brown of my recently published book “Homology, Genes and Evolutionary Innovation”. The issues addressed here relate to: the notion of classes and individuals, issues of explanatory value of adaptive and structuralist explanations in evolutionary biology, the role of homology in evolutionary theory, the limits of a pluralist stance vis a vis alternative explanations of homology, as well as the question whether and to what extend the perspective (...)
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  • Typology Now: Homology and Developmental Constraints Explain Evolvability.Ingo Brigandt - 2007 - Biology and Philosophy 22 (5):709-725.
    By linking the concepts of homology and morphological organization to evolvability, this paper attempts to (1) bridge the gap between developmental and phylogenetic approaches to homology and to (2) show that developmental constraints and natural selection are compatible and in fact complementary. I conceive of a homologue as a unit of morphological evolvability, i.e., as a part of an organism that can exhibit heritable phenotypic variation independently of the organism’s other homologues. An account of homology therefore consists in explaining how (...)
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  • Microorganisms and Essentialism : A Critical Examination of the Homeostatic Property Cluster View of the Species Category.Senji Tanaka - 2012 - Journal of the Japan Association for Philosophy of Science 40 (1):9-25.
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  • Preface.Raphael van Riel & Albert Newen - 2011 - Philosophia Naturalis 48 (1):5-8.
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  • No Purely Epistemic Theory Can Account for the Naturalness of Kinds.Olivier Lemeire - forthcoming - Synthese:1-19.
    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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  • Overlapping Ontologies and Indigenous Knowledge. From Integration to Ontological Self-­Determination.David Ludwig - 2016 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 59:36-45.
    Current controversies about knowledge integration reflect conflicting ideas of what it means to “take Indigenous knowledge seriously”. While there is increased interest in integrating Indigenous and Western scientific knowledge in various disciplines such as anthropology and ethnobiology, integration projects are often accused of recognizing Indigenous knowledge only insofar as it is useful for Western scientists. The aim of this article is to use tools from philosophy of science to develop a model of both successful integration and integration failures. On the (...)
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  • A Phenomenological and Dynamic View of Homology: Homologs as Persistently Reproducible Modules.Daichi G. Suzuki & Senji Tanaka - 2017 - Biological Theory 12 (3):169-180.
    Homology is a fundamental concept in biology. However, the metaphysical status of homology, especially whether a homolog is a part of an individual or a member of a natural kind, is still a matter of intense debate. The proponents of the individuality view of homology criticize the natural kind view of homology by pointing out that homologs are subject to evolutionary transformation, and natural kinds do not change in the evolutionary process. Conversely, some proponents of the natural kind view of (...)
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  • Typology and Natural Kinds in Evo-Devo.Ingo Brigandt - 2017 - In Laura Nuño De La Rosa & Gerd Müller (eds.), Evolutionary Developmental Biology: A Reference Guide. Cham: Springer. doi:10.1007/978-3-319-33038-9_10.
    The traditional practice of establishing morphological types and investigating morphological organization has found new support from evolutionary developmental biology (evo-devo), especially with respect to the notion of body plans. Despite recurring claims that typology is at odds with evolutionary thinking, evo-devo offers mechanistic explanations of the evolutionary origin, transformation, and evolvability of morphological organization. In parallel, philosophers have developed non-essentialist conceptions of natural kinds that permit kinds to exhibit variation and undergo change. This not only facilitates a construal of species (...)
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  • Species Are, at the Same Time, Kinds and Individuals: A Causal Argument Based on an Empirical Approach to Species Identity.Elena Casetta & Davide Vecchi - forthcoming - Synthese:1-19.
    After having reconstructed a minimal biological characterisation of species, we endorse an “empirical approach” based on the idea that it is the peculiar evolutionary history of the species at issue—its peculiar origination process, its peculiar metapopulation structure and the peculiar mixture and strength of homeostatic processes vis à vis heterostatic ones—that determines species’ identity at a time and through time. We then explore the consequences of the acceptance of the empirical approach in settling the individuals versus kinds dispute. In particular, (...)
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  • Institution Types and Institution Tokens: An Unproblematic Distinction?Rico Hauswald - 2018 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 48 (6):594-607.
    The distinction between institution types and institution tokens plays an important role in Francesco Guala’s philosophy of institutions. In this commentary, I argue that this distinction faces a number of difficulties that are not sufficiently addressed in Understanding Institutions. In particular, I critically discuss Guala’s comparison between the taxonomy of organisms and the taxonomy of institutions, consider the semantics of institution terms on different levels in this taxonomy, and argue for an alternative solution to the problem of how to reconcile (...)
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  • Science and Transcendence: Westphal, Derrida, and Responsibility.Nathan Kowalsky - 2012 - Zygon 47 (1):118-139.
    Abstract. On the naive reading, “radical social constructivism” would be the result of “deconstructing” science. Science would simply be a contingent construction in accordance with social determinants. However, postmodernism does not necessarily abandon fidelity to the objects of thought. Merold Westphal's Derridean philosophy of religion emphasizes that even theology need not eliminate the transcendence of the divine other. By drawing an analogy between natural and supernatural transcendence, I argue that science is similarly called to responsibility in the encounter with that (...)
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  • Individual Essentialism in Biology.Michael Devitt - 2018 - Biology and Philosophy 33 (5-6):39.
    A few philosophers of biology have recently explicitly rejected Essential Membership, the doctrine that if an individual organism belongs to a taxon, particularly a species, it does so essentially. But philosophers of biology have not addressed the broader issue, much discussed by metaphysicians on the basis of modal intuitions, of what is essential to the organism. In this paper, I address that issue from a biological basis, arguing for the Kripkean view that an organism has a partly intrinsic, partly historical, (...)
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