The Logical Structure of Kinds

Oxford: Oxford University Press (2014)
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Abstract

This book uncovers a logical structure that is common to many, if not all, of the kinds posited by scientific taxonomies. Specification relations, such as those holding between determinates and determinables (determination), are central to this logical investigation of kinds. The species–genus relation is a familiar specification relation for substantival kinds, but this book focuses on adjectival kinds—whose instances are properties—instead. Determination relations are then used to structure kinds at the same level of abstraction into property spaces, which in turn leads to a theory for individuating properties (tropes). These determination relations are contrasted with realization relations, the latter being the favored way of understanding the connection between the mental and the physical. Particular attention is given to the distinction between multiple realizability and multiple determination, and it is argued that determination and realization are mutually exclusive. The claim that multiple realizability entails various senses of autonomy is defended from various reductionist challenges. These theories of determination and realization then provide general standards for establishing the autonomy of the special sciences or, conversely, their reduction.

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Eric Funkhouser
University of Arkansas, Fayetteville

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