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  1. Working memory is not a natural kind and cannot explain central cognition.Javier Gomez-Lavin - 2020 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 12 (2):199-225.
    Working memory is a foundational construct of cognitive psychology, where it is thought to be a capacity that enables us to keep information in mind and to use that information to support goal directed behavior. Philosophers have recently employed working memory to explain central cognitive processes, from consciousness to reasoning. In this paper, I show that working memory cannot meet even a minimal account of natural kindhood, as the functions of maintenance and manipulation of information that tie working memory models (...)
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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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  • William Whewell, Cluster Theorist of Kinds.Zina B. Ward - 2023 - Hopos: The Journal of the International Society for the History of Philosophy of Science 13 (2):362-386.
    A dominant strand of philosophical thought holds that natural kinds are clusters of objects with shared properties. Cluster theories of natural kinds are often taken to be a late twentieth-century development, prompted by dissatisfaction with essentialism in philosophy of biology. I will argue here, however, that a cluster theory of kinds had actually been formulated by William Whewell (1794-1866) more than a century earlier. Cluster theories of kinds can be characterized in terms of three central commitments, all of which are (...)
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  • “Philosophers care about the truth”: Descriptive/normative generics.Olivier Lemeire - 2023 - Mind and Language 38 (3):772-786.
    Some generic generalizations have both a descriptive and a normative reading. The generic sentence “Philosophers care about the truth”, for instance, can be read as describing what philosophers in fact care about, but can also be read as prescribing philosophers to care about the truth. On Leslie’s account, this generic sentence has two readings due to the polysemy of the kind term “philosopher”. In this paper, I first argue against this polysemy account of descriptive/normative generics. In response, a contextualist semantic (...)
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  • Natural Kind Semantics for a Classical Essentialist Theory of Kinds.Javier Belastegui - forthcoming - Review of Symbolic Logic.
    The aim of this paper is to provide a complete Natural Kind Semantics for an Essentialist Theory of Kinds. The theory is formulated in two-sorted first order monadic modal logic with identity. The natural kind semantics is based on Rudolf Willes Theory of Concept Lattices. The semantics is then used to explain several consequences of the theory, including results about the specificity (species–genus) relations between kinds, the definitions of kinds in terms of genera and specific differences and the existence of (...)
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  • Social Ontology.Rebecca Mason & Katherine Ritchie - 2020 - In Ricki Bliss & James Miller (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Metametaphysics. New York, NY: Routledge.
    Traditionally, social entities (i.e., social properties, facts, kinds, groups, institutions, and structures) have not fallen within the purview of mainstream metaphysics. In this chapter, we consider whether the exclusion of social entities from mainstream metaphysics is philosophically warranted or if it instead rests on historical accident or bias. We examine three ways one might attempt to justify excluding social metaphysics from the domain of metaphysical inquiry and argue that each fails. Thus, we conclude that social entities are not justifiably excluded (...)
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  • Free actions as a natural kind.Oisín Deery - 2021 - Synthese 198 (1):823-843.
    Do we have free will? Understanding free will as the ability to act freely, and free actions as exercises of this ability, I maintain that the default answer to this question is “yes.” I maintain that free actions are a natural kind, by relying on the influential idea that kinds are homeostatic property clusters. The resulting position builds on the view that agents are a natural kind and yields an attractive alternative to recent revisionist accounts of free action. My view (...)
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  • Against natural kind eliminativism.Stijn Conix & Pei-Shan Chi - 2020 - Synthese 198 (9):8999-9020.
    It has recently been argued that the concept of natural kinds should be eliminated because it does not play a productive theoretical role and even harms philosophical research on scientific classification. We argue that this justification for eliminativism fails because the notion of ‘natural kinds’ plays another epistemic role in philosophical research, namely, it enables fruitful investigation into non-arbitrary classification. It does this in two ways: first, by providing a fruitful investigative entry into scientific classification; and second—as is supported by (...)
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  • What counts as a memory? Definitions, hypotheses, and 'kinding in progress'.David Colaço - 2022 - Philosophy of Science 89 (1):89-106.
    This paper accounts for broad definitions of memory, which extend to paradigmatic memory phenomena, like episodic memory in humans, and phenomena in worms and sea snails. These definitions may seem too broad, suggesting that they extend to phenomena that don’t count as memory or illustrate that memory is not a natural kind. However, these responses fail to consider a definition as a hypothesis. As opposed to construing definitions as expressing memory’s properties, a definition as a hypothesis is the basis to (...)
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  • How to Philosophically Tackle Kinds without Talking About ‘Natural Kinds’.Ingo Brigandt - 2022 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 52 (3):356-379.
    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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  • Covid-19 and ageing: four alternative conceptual frameworks.Davide Serpico & M. Cristina Amoretti - 2021 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 43 (3):1-4.
    Ageing is one of the main risk factors for Covid-19. In this paper, we delineate four alternative conceptualisations of ageing, each of which determines different understandings of its causal role to the susceptibility to Covid-19 as well as to the severity of its symptoms and adverse health outcomes.
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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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  • The Gene as a Natural Kind.Francesca Bellazzi - 2023 - In José Manuel Viejo & Mariano Sanjuán (eds.), Life and Mind - New Directions in the Philosophy of Biology and Cognitive Sciences. Springer. pp. pp 259–278.
    What is a gene? Does it represent a natural kind, or is it just a tool for genomics? A clear answer to these questions has been challenged by postgenomic discoveries. In response, I will argue that the gene can be deemed a natural kind as it satisfies some requirements for genuine kindhood. Specifically, natural kinds are projectible categories in our best scientific theories, and they represent nodes in the causal network of the world (as in Khalidi. Natural Categories and Human (...)
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  • Biochemical Kinds and the Unity of Science.Francesca Bellazzi - 2023 - Dissertation, University of Bristol
    The present thesis explores some metaphysical issues concerning biochemical kinds and the relations between chemical and biological properties and phenomena. The main result of this thesis is that there is something sui generis about biochemical kinds. This result is motivated by two theoretical steps. The first is characterising biochemical functions as weakly emergent from the chemical structure [Chapter 3, Chapter 6]. The second is via an account for which biochemical kinds are natural categories [Chapter 4, Chapter 7]. The thesis comprises (...)
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  • Eliminating episodic memory?Nikola Andonovski, John Sutton & Christopher McCarroll - forthcoming - Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B.
    In Tulving’s initial characterization, episodic memory was one of multiple memory systems. It was postulated, in pursuit of explanatory depth, as displaying proprietary operations, representations, and substrates such as to explain a range of cognitive, behavioural, and experiential phenomena. Yet the subsequent development of this research program has, paradoxically, introduced surprising doubts about the nature, and indeed existence, of episodic memory. On dominant versions of the ‘common system’ view, on which a single simulation system underlies both remembering and imagining, there (...)
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  • Natural Kinds (Cambridge Elements in Philosophy of Science).Muhammad Ali Khalidi - 2023 - Cambridge University Press.
    Scientists cannot devise theories, construct models, propose explanations, make predictions, or even carry out observations, without first classifying their subject matter. The goal of scientific taxonomy is to come up with classification schemes that conform to nature's own. Another way of putting this is that science aims to devise categories that correspond to 'natural kinds.' The interest in ascertaining the real kinds of things in nature is as old as philosophy itself, but it takes on a different guise when one (...)
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  • Ameliorating at the joints. A permissive normative framework for conceptual engineering.Iñigo Valero - forthcoming - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy.
    In this paper I argue against Simion’s (Citation2018) Epistemic Limiting Procedure for conceptual engineering and put forward a more permissive alternative, according to which epistemic losses do not systematically block amelioration, but merely provide reasons against it. On this less restrictive view, epistemic losses will be permissible, provided that they are compensated by the non-epistemic gains of the amelioration. After fleshing out the details of my proposal, I discuss two case studies in relation to which Simion’s restrictive procedure seems to (...)
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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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  • Taxa hold little information about organisms: Some inferential problems in biological systematics.Thomas A. C. Reydon - 2019 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 41 (4):40.
    The taxa that appear in biological classifications are commonly seen as representing information about the traits of their member organisms. This paper examines in what way taxa feature in the storage and retrieval of such information. I will argue that taxa do not actually store much information about the traits of their member organisms. Rather, I want to suggest, taxa should be understood as functioning to localize organisms in the genealogical network of life on Earth. Taxa store information about where (...)
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  • Taxa hold little information about organisms: Some inferential problems in biological systematics.Thomas A. C. Reydon - 2019 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 41 (4):40.
    The taxa that appear in biological classifications are commonly seen as representing information about the traits of their member organisms. This paper examines in what way taxa feature in the storage and retrieval of such information. I will argue that taxa do not actually store much information about the traits of their member organisms. Rather, I want to suggest, taxa should be understood as functioning to localize organisms in the genealogical network of life on Earth. Taxa store information about where (...)
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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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  • 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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  • Natural Kinds: The Expendables.François Papale & David Montminy - 2023 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 53 (2):103-120.
    Theoreticians that defend a form of realism regarding natural kinds minimally entertain the belief that the world features divisions into kinds and that the natural kind concept is a useful tool for philosophy of science. The objective of this paper is to challenge these assumptions. First, we challenge realism toward natural kinds by showing that the main arguments for their existence, which rely on the epistemic success of natural kinds, are unsatisfactory. Second, we show that, whether they exist or not, (...)
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  • Homeostatic Property Cluster Theory without Homeostatic Mechanisms: Two Recent Attempts and their Costs.Yukinori Onishi & Davide Serpico - 2021 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie (N/A):61-82.
    The homeostatic property cluster theory is widely influential for its ability to account for many natural-kind terms in the life sciences. However, the notion of homeostatic mechanism has never been fully explicated. In 2009, Carl Craver interpreted the notion in the sense articulated in discussions on mechanistic explanation and pointed out that the HPC account equipped with such notion invites interest-relativity. In this paper, we analyze two recent refinements on HPC: one that avoids any reference to the causes of the (...)
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  • Ontic and Epistemic Differentiation: Mechanistic Problems for Microbiology and Biology.Flavia Marcacci, Michal Oleksowicz & Angela Conti - forthcoming - Foundations of Science:1-23.
    Species are considered the basic unit of biological classification and evolution. Hence, they are used as a benchmark in several fields, although the ontological status of such a category has always been a matter of debate. This paper aims to discuss the problem of the definition of species within the new mechanistic approach. Nevertheless, the boundary between entities, activities, and mechanisms remains difficult to establish and always requires an analysis of what is meant by explanation. As a case study, the (...)
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  • Putting Modal Metaphysics First.Antonella Mallozzi - 2018 - Synthese (Suppl 8):1-20.
    I propose that we approach the epistemology of modality by putting modal metaphysics first and, specifically, by investigating the metaphysics of essence. Following a prominent Neo-Aristotelian view, I hold that metaphysical necessity depends on the nature of things, namely their essences. I further clarify that essences are core properties having distinctive superexplanatory powers. In the case of natural kinds, which is my focus in the paper, superexplanatoriness is due to the fact that the essence of a kind is what causes (...)
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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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  • From naturalness to materiality: reimagining philosophy of scientific classification.David Ludwig - 2023 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 13 (1):1-23.
    The notion of natural kinds has been widely criticized in philosophy of science but also appears indispensable for philosophical engagement with classificatory practices. Rather than addressing this tension through a new definition of “natural kind”, this article suggests materiality as a substitute for naturalness in philosophical debates about scientific classification. It is argued that a theory of material kinds provides an alternative and more inclusive entry point for analyzing classificatory practices, which is specified through an account of “restricted malleability” of (...)
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  • The causal structure of natural kinds.Olivier Lemeire - 2021 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 85:200-207.
    One primary goal for metaphysical theories of natural kinds is to account for their epistemic fruitfulness. According to cluster theories of natural kinds, this epistemic fruitfulness is grounded in the regular and stable co- occurrence of a broad set of properties. In this paper, I defend the view that such a cluster theory is insufficient to adequately account for the epistemic fruitfulness of kinds. I argue that cluster theories can indeed account for the projectibility of natural kinds, but not for (...)
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  • Kinds in the cognitive sciences: Reply to Weiskopf, Sullivan, and Robins.Muhammad Ali Khalidi - 2024 - Mind and Language 39 (1):129-140.
    In this response to three critiques of my book, Cognitive ontology, I expand on some of its main themes. First, I demarcate the domain of cognition to support my claim that it is properly investigated from Marr's computational level. Then, I defend the claim that cognitive kinds ought to be individuated externalistically, by contrast with neural kinds, which are often individuated internalistically. This implies that the relationship between the cognitive sciences is one of delivering mutual constraints, which is a more (...)
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  • Complexity begets crosscutting, dooms hierarchy.Joyce C. Havstad - 2021 - Synthese 198 (8):7665-7696.
    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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  • Social kinds: historical and multi-functional.Francesco Guala - 2023 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 13 (3):1-15.
    The notion of multi-functional kind is introduced to explain how social scientists may be able to draw inferences across historically unrelated societies or cultures. Multi-functional kinds are neither eternal nor purely historical, support non-trivial inductive generalisations, and allow to overcome scepticism about the inductive potential of multiply realised (functional) properties. Two examples, from monetary economics and anthropology, provide support for a pluralistic ontology of the social world.
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  • What we argue about when we argue about disease.Harriet Fagerberg - 2023 - Philosophy of Medicine 4 (1):1-20.
    The disease debate in philosophy of medicine has traditionally been billed as a debate over the correct conceptual analysis of the term “disease.” This paper argues that although the debate’s participants overwhelmingly claim to be in the business of conceptual analysis, they do not tend to argue as if this is the case. In particular, they often show a puzzling disregard for key parameters such as precise terminology, linguistic community, and actual usage. This prima facie strange feature of the debate (...)
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  • The Spirit of Cocktails: On the Conceptual Structure of Cocktail Recipes.Davide Serpico, M. Cristina Amoretti & Marcello Frixione - 2020 - Humana.Mente - Journal of Philosophical Studies 38 (13):37-59.
    In this paper, we discuss the conceptual structure of cocktail recipes. This topic involves engaging questions for philosophers and food theorists due to some peculiar characteristics of cocktail recipes, such as the fact that they are standardised by international associations but, nonetheless, vagueness in some elements of the recipes introduces a degree of variability between cocktails of the same type. Our proposal is that a classical theory of concepts is unable to account for such peculiar features. Thus, only a hybrid (...)
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  • Scientific Pluralism.Ludwig David & Ruphy Stéphanie - 2021 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
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  • Classification, Kinds, Taxonomic Stability, and Conceptual Change.Jaipreet Mattu & Jacqueline Anne Sullivan - forthcoming - Aggression and Violent Behavior.
    Scientists represent their world, grouping and organizing phenomena into classes by means of concepts. Philosophers of science have historically been interested in the nature of these concepts, the criteria that inform their application and the nature of the kinds that the concepts individuate. They also have sought to understand whether and how different systems of classification are related and more recently, how investigative practices shape conceptual development and change. Our aim in this paper is to provide a critical overview of (...)
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  • Quantum Deep Learning Triuniverse.Angus McCoss - 2016 - Journal of Quantum Information Science 6 (4).
    An original quantum foundations concept of a deep learning computational Universe is introduced. The fundamental information of the Universe (or Triuniverse)is postulated to evolve about itself in a Red, Green and Blue (RGB) tricoloured stable self-mutuality in three information processing loops. The colour is a non-optical information label. The information processing loops form a feedback-reinforced deep learning macrocycle with trefoil knot topology. Fundamental information processing is driven by ψ-Epistemic Drive, the Natural appetite for information selected for advantageous knowledge. From its (...)
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  • The Resemblance Structure of Natural Kinds: A Formal Model for Resemblance Nominalism.Javier Belastegui Lazcano - 2021 - Dissertation, Universidad Del País Vasco
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  • Revamping the Metaphysics of Ethnobiological Classification.David Ludwig - 2018 - Current Anthropology 59 (4):415-438.
    Ethnobiology has a long tradition of metaphysical debates about the “naturalness,” “objectivity”, “reality”, and “universality” of classifications. Especially the work of Brent Berlin has been influential in developing a “convergence metaphysics” that explains cross-cultural similarities of knowledge systems through shared recognition of objective discontinuities in nature. Despite its influence on the development of the field, convergence metaphysics has largely fallen out of favor as contemporary ethnobiologists tend to emphasize the locality and diversity of classificatory practices. The aim of this article (...)
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  • Psychopathy as a Scientifc Kind: On Usefulness and Underpinnings.Thomas A. C. Reydon - 2022 - In Luca Malatesti, John McMillan & Predrag Šustar (eds.), Psychopathy: Its Uses, Validity and Status. Cham: Springr. pp. 169-187.
    This chapter examines the status of psychopathy as a scientific kind. I argue that the debate on the question whether psychopathy is a scientific kind as it is conducted at present (i.e., by asking whether psychopathy is a natural kind), is misguided. It relies too much on traditional philosophical views of what natural kinds (or: legitimate scientific kinds) are and how such kinds perform epistemic roles in the sciences. The paper introduces an alternative approach to the question what scientific (or: (...)
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