Read e-book online Natural Categories and Human Kinds: Classification in the PDF

By Muhammad Ali Khalidi

ISBN-10: 1107012740

ISBN-13: 9781107012745

The proposal of 'natural forms' has been principal to modern discussions of metaphysics and philosophy of technological know-how. even if explicitly articulated through nineteenth-century philosophers like Mill, Whewell and Venn, it has a far older historical past relationship again to Plato and Aristotle. in recent times, essentialism has been the dominant account of normal forms between philosophers, however the essentialist view has encountered resistance, particularly between naturalist metaphysicians and philosophers of technological know-how. educated through targeted exam of class within the typical and social sciences, this publication argues opposed to essentialism and for a naturalist account of traditional varieties. by means of case reports drawn from assorted medical disciplines, from fluid mechanics to virology and polymer technology to psychiatry, the writer argues that normal types are nodes in causal networks. at the foundation of this account, he continues that there may be common forms within the social sciences in addition to the average sciences.

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Extra info for Natural Categories and Human Kinds: Classification in the Natural and Social Sciences

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17 Specifically, it has now been widely accepted that it is problematic to consider natural kind terms to be “rigid designators,” terms that refer to the same thing in every possible world (in which that thing exists). Unlike proper names and other singular terms, there is no straightforward way of applying the notion of rigid designation to general terms, including natural kind terms. The chief difficulty with the claim that natural kind terms refer to the same thing in every possible world can be presented in the form of a dilemma.

Since natural kinds correspond to real entities, there should be a determinate answer in each case whether some individual i is a member of kind K. If there is no such determinate answer, it may be argued, then we do not have kinds with well-defined boundaries, and that may give us some grounds for doubting that such kinds are real. But, contrary to appearances, monothetic kinds are not superior to polythetic kinds in this respect. If membership in a polythetic kind is determined by possession of a cluster of properties, that does not mean that the conditions for membership are in some cases undefined, or even vague.

But it turns out to be difficult to formalize this distinction in a rigorous way and several attempts to do so have fallen foul of paradoxes and other difficulties. I will not attempt to summarize the entire debate, but will merely outline a few notable attempts in order to illustrate some of the difficulties. 19 That is, the only properties that are intrinsic are the ones that a thing could have if it were the only thing in existence in the universe. This accords well with the above examples, since a particle could have a unit positive charge while being the only thing in the universe, but it could not be bonded to an electron if there were nothing else (in this case, at least one electron).

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Natural Categories and Human Kinds: Classification in the Natural and Social Sciences by Muhammad Ali Khalidi

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