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How to Philosophically Tackle Kinds without Talking About ‘Natural Kinds’

Brigandt, Ingo (2020) How to Philosophically Tackle Kinds without Talking About ‘Natural Kinds’. Canadian Journal of Philosophy.

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Abstract

Recent rival attempts in the philosophy of science to put forward a general theory of the properties that all (and only) natural kinds across the sciences possess may have proven to be futile. Instead, I develop a general methodological framework for how to philosophically study kinds. Any kind has to be investigated and articulated together with the human aims that motivate referring to this kind, where different kinds in the same scientific domain can answer to different concrete aims. My core contention is that non-epistemic aims, including environmental, ethical, and political aims, matter as well. This is defended and illustrated based on several examples of kinds, with particular attention to the role of social-political aims: species, race, gender, as well as personality disorders and oppositional defiant disorder as psychiatric kinds. Such non-epistemic aims and values need not always be those personally favoured by scientists, but may have to reflect values that matter to relevant societal stakeholders. Despite the general agenda to study ‘kinds,’ I argue that philosophers should stop using the term ‘natural kinds,’ as this label obscures the relevance of humans interests and the way in which many kinds are based on contingent social processes subject to human responsibility.


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Item Type: Published Article or Volume
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Brigandt, Ingo
Keywords: natural kinds; science and values; non-epistemic aims; non-epistemic values; race; gender; psychiatric kinds
Subjects: General Issues > Natural Kinds
General Issues > Values In Science
Depositing User: Ingo Brigandt
Date Deposited: 24 Jun 2020 01:58
Last Modified: 24 Jun 2020 01:58
Item ID: 17369
Journal or Publication Title: Canadian Journal of Philosophy
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
DOI or Unique Handle: https://doi.org/10.1017/can.2020.29
Subjects: General Issues > Natural Kinds
General Issues > Values In Science
Date: 2020
URI: https://philsci-archive-dev.library.pitt.edu/id/eprint/17369

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