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  1. On Chemical Natural Kinds.Eric R. Scerri - 2020 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 51 (3):427-445.
    A critique of LaPorte's views on chemical kinds, like jade and ruby, is presented. More positively, a new slant is provided on the question of whether elements are natural kinds. This is carried out by appeal to the dual nature of elements, a topic that has been debated in the philosophy of chemistry but not in the natural kinds literature. It is claimed that the abstract notion of elements, as opposed to their being simple substances, is relevant to the Kripke–Putnam (...)
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  • Zoocentrism in the weeds? Cultivating plant models for cognitive yield.Adam Linson & Paco Calvo - 2020 - Biology and Philosophy 35 (5):1-27.
    It remains at best controversial to claim, non-figuratively, that plants are cognitive agents. At the same time, it is taken as trivially true that many animals are cognitive agents, arguably through an implicit or explicit appeal to natural science. Yet, any given definition of cognition implicates at least some further processes, such as perception, action, memory, and learning, which must be observed either behaviorally, psychologically, neuronally, or otherwise physiologically. Crucially, however, for such observations to be intelligible, they must be counted (...)
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  • Social Ontology.Brian Epstein - 2018 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    Social ontology is the study of the nature and properties of the social world. It is concerned with analyzing the various entities in the world that arise from social interaction. -/- A prominent topic in social ontology is the analysis of social groups. Do social groups exist at all? If so, what sorts of entities are they, and how are they created? Is a social group distinct from the collection of people who are its members, and if so, how is (...)
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  • Racial Realism II: Are Folk Races Real?Quayshawn Spencer - 2018 - Philosophy Compass 13 (1):e12467.
    This article is Part II in a pair of articles on racial realism. In Part I, I defined “racial realism” and discussed the major attempts in the past twenty years among metaphysicians of race and biologists to defend racial realism from the viewpoint of what biologists mean by “race.” In this article, I continue discussing and critiquing how metaphysicians of race have conceived of and defended racial realism, but with a focus on how ordinary people use “race.” I focus on (...)
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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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  • Fuzziness in the Mind: Can Perception Be Unconscious?Henry Taylor - 2020 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 101 (2):383-398.
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, EarlyView.
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  • Beyond Black Dots and Nutritious Things: A Solution to the Indeterminacy Problem.Marc Artiga - forthcoming - Mind and Language.
    The indeterminacy problem is one of the most prominent objections against naturalistic theories of content. In this essay I present this difficulty and argue that extant accounts are unable to solve it. Then, I develop a particular version of teleosemantics, which I call ’explanation-based teleosemantics’, and show how this outstanding problem can be addressed within the framework of a powerful naturalistic theory.
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  • Can the Epistemic Value of Natural Kinds Be Explained Independently of Their Metaphysics?Catherine Kendig & John Grey - forthcoming - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science:axz004.
    The account of natural kinds as stable property clusters is premised on the possibility of separating the epistemic value of natural kinds from their underlying metaphysics. On that account, the co-instantiation of any sub-cluster of the properties associated with a given natural kind raises the probability of the co-instantiation of the rest, and this clustering of property instantiation is invariant under all relevant counterfactual perturbations. We argue that it is not possible to evaluate the stability of a cluster of properties (...)
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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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  • Representing and Coordinating Ethnobiological Knowledge.Daniel A. Weiskopf - forthcoming - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences:101328.
    Indigenous peoples possess enormously rich and articulated knowledge of the natural world. A major goal of research in anthropology and ethnobiology as well as ecology, conservation biology, and development studies is to find ways of integrating this knowledge with that produced by academic and other institutionalized scientific communities. Here I present a challenge to this integration project. I argue, by reference to ethnographic and cross-cultural psychological studies, that the models of the world developed within specialized academic disciplines do not map (...)
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  • The Kindness of Psychopaths.Zdenka Brzović, Marko Jurjako & Predrag Šustar - 2017 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 31 (2):189-211.
    Psychopathy attracts considerable interdisciplinary interest. The idea of a group of people with abnormal morality and interpersonal relations raises important philosophical, legal, and clinical issues. However, before engaging these issues, we ought to examine whether this category is scientifically grounded. We frame the issue in terms of the question whether ‘psychopathy’ designates a natural kind according to the cluster approaches. We argue that currently there is no sufficient evidence for an affirmative answer to this question. Furthermore, we examine three ways (...)
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  • Natural Kinds No Longer Are What They Never Were: Muhammad Ali Khalidi: Natural Categories and Human Kinds: Classification in the Natural and Social Sciences. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013, Xvi+250pp, £55.00 HB.Thomas A. C. Reydon - 2015 - Metascience 24 (2):259-264.
    The more one reads about the topic of natural kinds, the more one is reminded of that famous scene in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy in which Deep Thought—after a mere 7.5 million years of doing calculations—reveals that the answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe and Everything was 42. Faced with bewildered reactions from the eager audience, Deep Thought explains: “I think the problem, to be quite honest with you, is that you’ve never actually known what (...)
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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • Emotions, concepts and the indeterminacy of natural kinds.Henry Taylor - 2020 - Synthese 197 (5):2073-2093.
    A central question for philosophical psychology is which mental faculties form natural kinds. There is hot debate over the kind status of faculties as diverse as consciousness, seeing, concepts, emotions, constancy and the senses. In this paper, I take emotions and concepts as my main focus, and argue that questions over the kind status of these faculties are complicated by the undeservedly overlooked fact that natural kinds are indeterminate in certain ways. I will show that indeterminacy issues have led to (...)
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  • An Ideal Disorder? Autism as a Psychiatric Kind.Daniel A. Weiskopf - 2017 - Philosophical Explorations 20 (2):175-190.
    In recent decades, attempts to explain autism have been frustrated by the heterogeneous nature of its behavioral symptoms and the underlying genetic, neural, and cognitive mechanisms that produce them. This has led some to propose eliminating the category altogether. The eliminativist inference relies on a conception of psychiatric categories as kinds defined by their underlying mechanistic structure. I review the evidence for eliminativism and propose an alternative model of the family of autisms. On this account, autism is a network category (...)
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  • Synergic kinds.Manolo Martínez - 2020 - Synthese 197 (5):1931-1946.
    According to the homeostatic property cluster family of accounts, one of the main conditions for groups of properties to count as natural is that these properties be frequently co-instantiated. I argue that this condition is, in fact, not necessary for natural-kindness. Furthermore, even when it is present, the focus on co-occurrence distorts the role natural kinds play in science. Co-occurrence corresponds to what information theorists call redundancy: observing the presence of some of the properties in a frequently co-occurrent cluster makes (...)
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  • Representational Kinds.Joulia Smortchkova & Michael Murez - forthcoming - In Joulia Smortchkova, Krzysztof Dolega & Tobias Schlicht (eds.), What are Mental Representations? New York, État de New York, États-Unis:
    Many debates in philosophy focus on whether folk or scientific psychological notions pick out cognitive natural kinds. Examples include memory, emotions and concepts. A potentially interesting type of kind is: kinds of mental representations (as opposed, for example, to kinds of psychological faculties). In this chapter we outline a proposal for a theory of representational kinds in cognitive science. We argue that the explanatory role of representational kinds in scientific theories, in conjunction with a mainstream approach to explanation in cognitive (...)
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  • The Mental Files Theory of Singular Thought: A Psychological Perspective.Michael Murez, Joulia Smortchkova & Brent Strickland - 2020 - In Rachel Goodman, James Genone & Nick Kroll (eds.), Singular Thought and Mental Files. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 107-142.
    We argue that the most ambitious version of the mental files theory of singular thought, according to which mental files are a wide-ranging psychological natural kind underlying all and only singular thinking, is unsupported by the available psychological data. Nevertheless, critical examination of the theory from a psychological perspective opens up promising avenues for research, especially concerning the relationship between our perceptual capacity to individuate and track basic individuals, and our higher level capacities for singular thought.
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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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  • Memory as a Cognitive Kind: Brains, Remembering Dyads, and Exograms.Samuli Pöyhönen - 2016 - In Catherine Kendig (ed.), Natural Kinds and Classification in Scientific Practice. Routledge. pp. 145-156.
    Theories of natural kinds can be seen to face a twofold task: First, they should provide an ontological account of what kinds of (fundamental) things there are, what exists. The second task is an epistemological one, accounting for the inductive reliability of acceptable scientific concepts. In this chapter I examine whether concepts and categories used in the cognitive sciences should be understood as natural kinds. By using examples from human memory research to illustrate my argument, I critically examine some of (...)
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  • Niche Construction Theory: Difficulties for a Practice Approach to Theoretical Pluralism.Caleb Hazelwood - unknown
    In this thesis, I reconstruct C. Kenneth Waters’ “practice-centered approach” to philosophy of biology. The objective of the approach is to resolve theoretical debates in biology by appealing to how theories are used to predict and control a phenomenon, not just explain it. By turning our attention to how theories are used in practice, we can see that two conceptually incompatible theories can actually coextend. I put the approach to the test with a contemporary case study: the debate between the (...)
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  • Natural Kinds and Natural Kind Terms: Myth and Reality.Sören Häggqvist & Åsa Wikforss - 2018 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 69 (4):911-933.
    The article examines the role of natural kinds in semantic theorizing, which has largely been conducted in isolation from relevant work in science, metaphysics, and philosophy of science. We argue that the Kripke–Putnam account of natural kind terms, despite recent claims to the contrary, depends on a certain metaphysics of natural kinds; that the metaphysics usually assumed—micro-essentialism—is untenable even in a ‘placeholder’ version; and that the currently popular homeostatic property cluster theory of natural kinds is correct only to an extent (...)
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  • 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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  • 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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  • Conceptual Fragmentation and the Rise of Eliminativism.Henry Taylor & Peter Vickers - 2017 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 7 (1):17-40.
    Pluralist and eliminativist positions have proliferated within both science and philosophy of science in recent decades. This paper asks the question why this shift of thinking has occurred, and where it is leading us. We provide an explanation which, if correct, entails that we should expect pluralism and eliminativism to transform other debates currently unaffected, and for good reasons. We then consider the question under what circumstances eliminativism will be appropriate, arguing that it depends not only on the term in (...)
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  • Problem klasifikacije u filozofiji psihijatrije : slučaj psihopatije (Eng. The Problem of Classification in the Philosophy of Psychiatry: The Case of Psychopathy).Zdenka Brzović, Jelena Hodak, Luca Malatesti, Vesna Šendula-Jengić & Predrag Šustar - 2016 - Prolegomena 15 (1):21-41.
    The aim of this paper is to analyze, from a philosophical perspective, the scientific robustness of the construct of psychopathy as measured by the Psychopathy Checklist Revised that was developed by Robert Hare (1991; 2003). The scientific robustness and validity of classifications are topics of many debates in philosophy of science and philosophy of psychiatry more specifically. The main problem consists in establishing whether scientific classifications reflect natural kinds where the concept of a natural kind refers to the existence of (...)
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  • 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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  • Kinship Past, Kinship Present: Bio-Essentialism in the Study of Kinship.Robert A. Wilson - 2016 - American Anthropologist 118 (3).
    In this article, I reconsider bio-essentialism in the study of kinship, centering on David Schneider’s influential critique that concluded that kinship was “a non-subject” (1972:51). Schneider’s critique is often taken to have shown the limitations of and problems with past views of kinship based on biology, genealogy, and reproduction, a critique that subsequently led those reworking kinship as relatedness in the new kinship studies to view their enterprise as divorced from such bio-essentialist studies. Beginning with an alternative narrative connecting kinship (...)
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  • Natural Kinds as Nodes in Causal Networks.Muhammad Khalidi - 2018 - Synthese 195 (4):1379-1396.
    In this paper I offer a unified causal account of natural kinds. Using as a starting point the widely held view that natural kind terms or predicates are projectible, I argue that the ontological bases of their projectibility are the causal properties and relations associated with the natural kinds themselves. Natural kinds are not just concatenations of properties but ordered hierarchies of properties, whose instances are related to one another as causes and effects in recurrent causal processes. The resulting account (...)
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  • Causal Explanation and the Periodic Table.Lauren N. Ross - forthcoming - Synthese:1-25.
    The periodic table represents and organizes all known chemical elements on the basis of their properties. While the importance of this table in chemistry is uncontroversial, the role that it plays in scientific reasoning remains heavily disputed. Many philosophers deny the explanatory role of the table and insist that it is “merely” classificatory. In particular, it has been claimed that the table does not figure in causal explanation because it “does not reveal causal structure”. This paper provides an analysis of (...)
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  • Finding Causal Structure.Lauren N. Ross - unknown
    The periodic table of elements represents and organizes all known chemical elements on the basis of their properties. While the importance of this table in chemistry is uncontroversial the role that it plays in scientific reasoning remains heavily disputed. Many philosophers deny the explanatory role of the periodic table, while insisting that it is "merely" classificatory. In particular, it has been claimed that the table doesn’t figure in causal explanation because it "does not reveal causal structure". This paper argues that (...)
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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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  • Ontological Issues in the Life Sciences: Third European Advanced Seminar in the Philosophy of the Life Sciences, Klosterneuburg, Austria, 1–5 September 2014.James DiFrisco, Gaëlle Pontarotti, Federico Boem, Guillaume Schlaepfer, Ewelina Sokolowska & Eva Fernández-Labandera - 2015 - Biological Theory 10 (2):176-181.
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  • Rethinking Cohesion and Species Individuality.Celso Neto - 2016 - Biological Theory 11 (3):01-12.
    According to the species-as-individuals thesis(hereafter S-A-I), species are cohesive entities. Barker and Wilson recently pointed out that the type of cohesion exhibited by species is fundamentally different from that of organisms (paradigmatic individuals), suggesting that species are homeostatic property cluster kinds. In this article, I propose a shift in how to approach cohesion in the context of S-A-I: instead of analyzing the different types of cohesion and questioning whether species have them, I focus on the role played by cohesion in (...)
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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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  • On Radical Solutions in the Philosophy of Biology: What Does “Individuals Thinking” Actually Solve?Thomas A. C. Reydon - forthcoming - Synthese:1-23.
    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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  • 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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  • Kinds Behaving Badly: Intentional Action and Interactive Kinds.Sophie R. Allen - forthcoming - Synthese:1-30.
    This paper investigates interactive kinds, a class of kinds suggested by Ian Hacking for which classification generates a feedback loop between the classifiers and what is classified, and argues that human interactive kinds should be distinguished from non-human ones. First, I challenge the claim that there is nothing ontologically special about interactive kinds in virtue of their members being classified as such. To do so, I reject Cooper’s counterexample to Hacking’s thesis that kind descriptions are necessary for intentional action, arguing (...)
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  • The Species Category as a Scientific Kind.Caleb C. Hazelwood - forthcoming - Synthese.
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