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Natural kinds: a new synthesis

Barberousse, Anouk and Longy, Françoise and Merlin, Francesca and Ruphy, Stéphanie (2020) Natural kinds: a new synthesis. THEORIA. An International Journal for Theory, History and Foundations of Science, 35 (3). pp. 365-387. ISSN 2171-679X

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What is a natural kind? This old yet lasting philosophical question has recently received new competing answers (e.g., Chakravartty, 2007; Magnus, 2014; Khalidi, 2013; Slater, 2015; Ereshefsky & Reydon, 2015). We show that the main ingredients of an encompassing and coherent account of natural kinds are actually on the table, but in need of the right articulation. It is by adopting a non-reductionist, naturalistic and non-conceptualist approach that, in this paper, we elaborate a new synthesis of all these ingredients. Our resulting proposition is a multiple-compartment theory of natural kinds that defines them in purely ontological terms, clearly distinguishes and relates ontological and epistemological issues - more precisely, two grains of ontological descriptions and two grains of explanatory success of natural kinds -, and which sheds light on why natural kinds play an epistemic role both within science and in everyday life.

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Item Type: Published Article or Volume
Longy, Franç
Ruphy, Sté
Additional Information: ISSN: 0495-4548 (print)
Keywords: Natural Kind; HPC; Essentialism
Subjects: General Issues > Explanation
General Issues > Natural Kinds
Depositing User: Unnamed user with email
Date Deposited: 19 Oct 2020 02:55
Last Modified: 19 Oct 2020 02:55
Item ID: 18283
Journal or Publication Title: THEORIA. An International Journal for Theory, History and Foundations of Science
Publisher: Euskal Herriko Unibertsitatea / Universidad del País Vasco
Official URL:
DOI or Unique Handle:
Subjects: General Issues > Explanation
General Issues > Natural Kinds
Date: September 2020
Page Range: pp. 365-387
Volume: 35
Number: 3
ISSN: 2171-679X

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