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Natural Kind Essentialism Revisited

Mind 124 (495):795-822 (2015)

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  1. Mineral Misbehavior: Why Mineralogists Don’T Deal in Natural Kinds.Carlos Santana - forthcoming - Foundations of Chemistry:1-11.
    Mineral species are, at first glance, an excellent candidate for an ideal set of natural kinds somewhere beyond the periodic table. Mineralogists have a detailed set of rules and formal procedure for ratifying new species, and minerals are a less messy subject matter than biological species, psychological disorders, or even chemicals more broadly—all areas of taxonomy where the status of species as natural kinds has been disputed. After explaining how philosophers have tended to get mineralogy wrong in discussions of natural (...)
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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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  • Against Sider on Fundamentality.David Mathers - forthcoming - Erkenntnis:1-16.
    Sider’s Writing the Book of the World gives an account of fundamentality in terms of his central ideological notion ‘structure’. Here I first argue against Sider’s claim that to be fundamental to a degree is to be structural to a degree. I argue there’s a pair of properties, P1 and P2, such that P1 is the more fundamental, but Sider is committed to counting P2 as the more structural. I then argue that if relative structure and relative fundamentality can come (...)
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  • On Deriving Essentialism From the Theory of Reference.Jussi Haukioja - 2015 - Philosophical Studies 172 (8):2141-2151.
    Causal theories of reference for natural kind terms are widely agreed to play a central role in arguments for the claim that theoretical identity statements such as “Water is H2O” are necessary, if true. However, there is also fairly wide-spread agreement, due to the arguments of Nathan Salmon, that causal theories of reference do not alone establish such essentialism about natural kinds: an independent, non-trivial essentialist premise is also needed. In this paper I will question this latter agreement. I will (...)
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  • Natural Kinds, Causal Profile and Multiple Constitution.Max Kistler - 2018 - Metaphysica 19 (1):113-135.
    The identity of a natural kind can be construed in terms of its causal profile. This conception is more appropriate to science than two alternatives. The identity of a natural kind is not determined by one causal role because one natural kind can have many causal roles and several functions and because some functions are shared by different kinds. Furthermore, the microstructuralist thesis is wrong: The identity of certain natural kinds is not determined by their microstructure. It is true that (...)
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  • Soames's Deflationism About Modality.Tuomas E. Tahko - 2013 - Erkenntnis 78 (6):1367-1379.
    One type of deflationism about metaphysical modality suggests that it can be analysed strictly in terms of linguistic or conceptual content and that there is nothing particularly metaphysical about modality. Scott Soames is explicitly opposed to this trend. However, a detailed study of Soames’s own account of modality reveals that it has striking similarities with the deflationary account. In this paper I will compare Soames’s account of a posteriori necessities concerning natural kinds with the deflationary one, specifically Alan Sidelle’s account, (...)
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  • Hart and Putnam on Rules and Paradigms: A Reply to Stavropoulos.Alexandre Müller Fonseca - 2018 - International Journal for the Semiotics of Law - Revue Internationale de Sémiotique Juridique 31 (1):53-77.
    Near the end of the last century, some legal philosophers adapted the so called causal theories of reference to solve internal problems in legal theory. Among those philosophers, Nicos Stavropoulos adjusted Hilary Putnam’s semantic externalism claiming it as a better philosophical view than legal positivism defended by Herbert Hart. According to him, what determines the correct application of a legal rule must be determined by the objects themselves. In that case, what determines the reference of legal terms is an issue (...)
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  • Induction and Natural Necessities.Stathis Psillos - 2017 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 48 (3):327-340.
    Some philosophers who believe that there are necessary connections in nature take it that an advantage of their commitment is that the problem of induction is solved. This paper aims to offer a comprehensive refutation of the arguments necessitarians use to show that if natural necessities are posited, then there is no problem of induction. In section 2, two models of natural necessity are presented. The “Contingent Natural Necessity” section examines David Armstrong’s explanationist ‘solution’ to the problem of induction. The (...)
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  • Fundamentality and Ontological Minimality.Tuomas E. Tahko - 2018 - In Ricki Bliss & Graham Priest (eds.), Reality and its Structure. Oxford University Press. pp. 237-253.
    In this chapter, a generic definition of fundamentality as an ontological minimality thesis is sought and its applicability examined. Most discussions of fundamentality are focused on a mereological understanding of the hierarchical structure of reality, which may be combined with an atomistic, object-oriented metaphysics. But recent work in structuralism, for instance, calls for an alternative understanding and it is not immediately clear that the conception of fundamentality at work in structuralism is commensurable with the mereological conception. However, it is proposed (...)
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  • Logically Simple Properties and Relations.Jan Plate - 2016 - Philosophers' Imprint 16:1-40.
    This paper presents an account of what it is for a property or relation (or ‘attribute’ for short) to be logically simple. Based on this account, it is shown, among other things, that the logically simple attributes are in at least one important way sparse. This in turn lends support to the view that the concept of a logically simple attribute can be regarded as a promising substitute for Lewis’s concept of a perfectly natural attribute. At least in part, the (...)
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  • The Modal Status of Laws: In Defence of a Hybrid View.Tuomas E. Tahko - 2015 - Philosophical Quarterly 65 (260):509-528.
    Three popular views regarding the modal status of the laws of nature are discussed: Humean Supervenience, nomic necessitation, and scientific/dispositional essentialism. These views are examined especially with regard to their take on the apparent modal force of laws and their ability to explain that modal force. It will be suggested that none of the three views, at least in their strongest form, can be maintained if some laws are metaphysically necessary, but others are metaphysically contingent. Some reasons for thinking that (...)
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