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Complexity Begets Crosscutting, Dooms Hierarchy (Another Paper on Natural Kinds)

Havstad, Joyce C (2020) Complexity Begets Crosscutting, Dooms Hierarchy (Another Paper on Natural Kinds). [Preprint]

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Abstract

There is a perennial philosophical dream of a certain natural order for the natural kinds. The name of this dream is ‘the hierarchy requirement’ (or ‘assumption’ or ‘thesis’). According to this postulate, proper natural kinds form a taxonomy which is both unique (i.e., there is only one taxonomy of such natural kinds) and traditional (i.e., said taxonomy consists of nested relations between specific and then more general kinds, each kind occupying one and only one particular place within that framework of relations). Here I demonstrate that complex scientific objects exist: objects which generate different systems of scientific classification, produce myriad legitimate alternatives amongst the nonetheless still natural kinds, and make the hierarchical dream impossible to realize, except at absurdly great cost. Philosophical hopes for a certain order in nature cannot be fulfilled. Natural kinds crosscut one another, ubiquitously so, and this crosscutting spells the end of the hierarchical dream.


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Item Type: Preprint
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Havstad, Joyce Cjhavstad@gmail.com0000-0003-1923-7860
Additional Information: Forthcoming in Synthese.
Keywords: classification; complexity; hierarchy; natural kinds; natural order; scientific essentialism
Subjects: General Issues > Scientific Metaphysics
Specific Sciences > Biology > Molecular Biology/Genetics
Specific Sciences > Chemistry
General Issues > History of Science Case Studies
General Issues > Natural Kinds
Depositing User: Dr. Joyce C. Havstad
Date Deposited: 08 Jan 2020 23:52
Last Modified: 08 Jan 2020 23:52
Item ID: 16800
Subjects: General Issues > Scientific Metaphysics
Specific Sciences > Biology > Molecular Biology/Genetics
Specific Sciences > Chemistry
General Issues > History of Science Case Studies
General Issues > Natural Kinds
Date: 8 January 2020
URI: https://philsci-archive-dev.library.pitt.edu/id/eprint/16800

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