Authors
Ingo Brigandt
University of Alberta
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.
Keywords natural kinds  science and values  non-epistemic aims  non-epistemic values  race  gender  psychiatric kinds
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Reprint years 2020
DOI 10.1017/can.2020.29
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References found in this work BETA

The Social Construction of What?Ian Hacking - 1999 - Harvard University Press.
Scientific Essentialism.Brian Ellis - 2001 - Cambridge University Press.

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Citations of this work BETA

Vividness as a Natural Kind.Uku Tooming & Kengo Miyazono - 2020 - Synthese 199 (1-2):3023-3043.
Framing the Epistemic Schism of Statistical Mechanics.Javier Anta - 2021 - Proceedings of the X Conference of the Spanish Society of Logic, Methodology and Philosophy of Science.

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