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  1. Taxonomy, Ontology, and Natural Kinds.P. Magnus - 2018 - Synthese 195 (4):1427-1439.
    When we ask what natural kinds are, there are two different things we might have in mind. The first, which I’ll call the taxonomy question, is what distinguishes a category which is a natural kind from an arbitrary class. The second, which I’ll call the ontology question, is what manner of stuff there is that realizes the category. Many philosophers have systematically conflated the two questions. The confusion is exhibited both by essentialists and by philosophers who pose their accounts in (...)
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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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  • What the 19th Century Knew About Taxonomy and the 20th Forgot.P. D. Magnus - manuscript
    The accepted narrative treats John Stuart Mill's Kinds as the historical prototype for our natural kinds, but Mill actually employs two separate notions: Kinds and natural groups. Considering these, along with the accounts of Mill's 19th-century interlocutors, forces us to recognize two distinct questions. First, what marks a natural kind as worthy of inclusion in taxonomy? Second, what exists in the world that makes a category meet that criterion? Mill's two notions offer separate answers to the two questions: natural groups (...)
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  • Whewell on Classification and Consilience.Aleta Quinn - 2017 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 1 (64):65-74.
    In this paper I sketch William Whewell’s attempts to impose order on classificatory mineralogy, which was in Whewell’s day (1794e1866) a confused science of uncertain prospects. Whewell argued that progress was impeded by the crude reductionist assumption that all macroproperties of crystals could be straightforwardly explained by reference to the crystals’ chemical constituents. By comparison with biological classification, Whewell proposed methodological reforms that he claimed would lead to a natural classification of minerals, which in turn would support advances in causal (...)
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  • Mill and Kripke on Proper Names and Natural Kind Terms.Stephen P. Schwartz - 2013 - British Journal for the History of Philosophy 21 (5):925 - 945.
    Saul Kripke in his revolutionary and influential series of lectures from the early 1970s (later published as the book Naming and Necessity) famously resurrected John Stuart Mill's theory of proper names. Kripke at the same time rejected Mill's theory of general terms. According to Kripke, many natural kind terms do not fit Mill's account of general terms and are closer to proper names. Unfortunately, Kripke and his followers ignored key passages in Mill's A System of Logic in which Mill enunciates (...)
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  • Hegel's Essentialism. Natural Kinds and the Metaphysics of Explanation in Hegel's Theory of ‘the Concept’.Franz Knappik - 2016 - European Journal of Philosophy 24 (4):760-787.
    Several recent interpretations see Hegel's theory of the Concept as a form of conceptual realism, according to which finite reality is articulated by objectively existing concepts. More precisely, this theory has been interpreted as a version of natural kind essentialism, and it has been proposed that its function is to account for the possibility of genuine explanations. This suggests a promising way to reconstruct the argument that Hegel's theory of objective concepts is based on—an argument that shows that the possibility (...)
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