The Special Science Dilemma and How Culture Solves It

Australasian Journal of Philosophy 93 (3):1-18 (2015)
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Abstract

I argue that there is a tension between the claim that at least some kinds in the special sciences are multiply realized and the claim that the reason why kinds are prized by science is that they enter into a variety of different empirical generalizations. Nevertheless, I show that this tension ceases in the case of ‘cultural homologues’—such as specific ideologies, religions, and folk wisdom. I argue that the instances of such special science kinds do have several projectable properties in common due to their shared history of reproduction, and that the social learning involved means that we should also expect these kinds to be multiply realized

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