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Natural Categories and Human Kinds: Classification in the Natural and Social Sciences [NOOK Book]

Overview

The notion of 'natural kinds' has been central to contemporary discussions of metaphysics and philosophy of science. Although explicitly articulated by nineteenth-century philosophers like Mill, Whewell and Venn, it has a much older history dating back to Plato and Aristotle. In recent years, essentialism has been the dominant account of natural kinds among philosophers, but the essentialist view has encountered resistance, especially among naturalist metaphysicians and philosophers of science. Informed by ...
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Natural Categories and Human Kinds: Classification in the Natural and Social Sciences

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Overview

The notion of 'natural kinds' has been central to contemporary discussions of metaphysics and philosophy of science. Although explicitly articulated by nineteenth-century philosophers like Mill, Whewell and Venn, it has a much older history dating back to Plato and Aristotle. In recent years, essentialism has been the dominant account of natural kinds among philosophers, but the essentialist view has encountered resistance, especially among naturalist metaphysicians and philosophers of science. Informed by detailed examination of classification in the natural and social sciences, this book argues against essentialism and for a naturalist account of natural kinds. By looking at case studies drawn from diverse scientific disciplines, from fluid mechanics to virology and polymer science to psychiatry, the author argues that natural kinds are nodes in causal networks. On the basis of this account, he maintains that there can be natural kinds in the social sciences as well as the natural sciences.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Muhammad Ali Khalidi has given us the best articulated treatment to date of a flexible, naturalistic approach to natural kinds. His wide-ranging treatment of kinds in the special sciences is especially noteworthy. Moreover, the book is so well written that it works well as an introduction to this difficult topic area as well as providing plenty of stimulation for seasoned professionals. It will surely be at the center of future discussion among scientific philosophers and philosophical scientists."
—Tom Nickles, University of Nevada, Reno
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781107241220
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 10/28/2013
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Edition number: 1
  • File size: 2 MB

Meet the Author

Muhammad Ali Khalidi is Associate Professor of Philosophy at York University, Toronto.
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Table of Contents

Preface; 1. Realism and essentialism about kinds; 2. The naturalness of kinds; 3. Kinds in the special sciences; 4. Kinds in the biological and social sciences; 5. Kinds of natural kinds; 6. Naturalising kinds.
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