Letting Go of “Natural Kind”: Toward a Multidimensional Framework of Nonarbitrary Classification

Philosophy of Science 85 (1):31-52 (2018)
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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 of naturalness have become an obstacle to understanding classificatory practices.

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David Ludwig
Wageningen University and Research


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