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Capricious kinds

Laimann, Jessica (2017) Capricious kinds. The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science.

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Abstract

According to Ian Hacking, some human kinds are subject to a peculiar type of classificatory instability: individuals change in reaction to being classified, which in turn leads to a revision of our understanding of the kind. Hacking’s claim that these ‘human interactive kinds’ cannot be natural kinds has been vehemently criticised on the grounds that similar patterns of instability occur in paradigmatic examples of natural kinds. I argue that the dialectic of the extant debate misses the core conceptual problem of human interactive kinds. The problem is not that these kinds are particularly unstable but ‘capricious’—their members behave in wayward, unexpected manners which defeats existing theoretical understanding. The reason for that, I argue, is that human interactive kinds are often ‘hybrid kinds’ consisting of a base kind and an associated status, which makes mechanisms that support patterns of change and stability systematically difficult to understand and predict.


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Item Type: Published Article or Volume
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Laimann, Jessicajessica.laimann@bristol.ac.uk
Keywords: interactive kinds, human kinds, looping effects, natural kinds, social kinds
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Biology
Specific Sciences > Psychology
Specific Sciences > Sociology
Depositing User: Jessica Laimann
Date Deposited: 21 Nov 2017 21:50
Last Modified: 21 Nov 2017 21:50
Item ID: 14131
Journal or Publication Title: The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Biology
Specific Sciences > Psychology
Specific Sciences > Sociology
Date: 18 November 2017
URI: https://philsci-archive-dev.library.pitt.edu/id/eprint/14131

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