Classification, Kinds, Taxonomic Stability, and Conceptual Change

Aggression and Violent Behavior (forthcoming)
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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 some of the key developments in this philosophical literature and identify some interesting issues it raises about the prospects of the so-called “special sciences”, including psychiatry, psychology, and the mind-brain sciences more generally, to discover natural kinds.

Author Profiles

Jaipreet Mattu
University of Western Ontario
Jacqueline Anne Sullivan
University of Western Ontario


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