Synthese 195 (4):1379-1396 (2018)

Muhammad Ali Khalidi
CUNY Graduate Center
In this paper I offer a unified causal account of natural kinds. Using as a starting point the widely held view that natural kind terms or predicates are projectible, I argue that the ontological bases of their projectibility are the causal properties and relations associated with the natural kinds themselves. Natural kinds are not just concatenations of properties but ordered hierarchies of properties, whose instances are related to one another as causes and effects in recurrent causal processes. The resulting account of natural kinds as clusters of core causal properties that give rise to clusters of derivative properties enables us to distinguish genuine natural kinds from non-natural kinds. For instance, it enables us to say why some of the purely conventional categories derived from the social domain do not correspond to natural kinds, though other social categories may.
Keywords Natural kinds  Causation  Metaphysics of science
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/s11229-015-0841-y
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

 PhilArchive page | Other versions
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Fact, Fiction, and Forecast.Nelson Goodman - 1955 - Harvard University Press.

View all 34 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Putting Modal Metaphysics First.Antonella Mallozzi - 2018 - Synthese (Suppl 8):1-20.
Social Ontology.Brian Epstein - 2018 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Homeostatic Property Cluster Theory Without Homeostatic Mechanisms: Two Recent Attempts and Their Costs.Yukinori Onishi & Davide Serpico - 2022 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie (N/A):61-82.
Free Actions as a Natural Kind.Oisín Deery - 2021 - Synthese 198 (1):823-843.

View all 25 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles

A Priori Causal Models of Natural Selection.Elliott Sober - 2011 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 89 (4):571 - 589.
Three Kinds of Social Kinds.Muhammad Ali Khalidi - 2015 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 90 (1):96-112.
Modal and Temporal Argumentation Networks.H. Barringer, D. M. Gabbay & J. Woods - 2012 - Argument and Computation 3 (2-3):203 - 227.
Natural Kinds and Natural Kind Terms.Kathrin Koslicki - 2008 - Philosophy Compass 3 (4):789-802.
Rethinking Natural Kinds.Veronica Ponce - 2003 - Dissertation, Duke University
Kinds, Projectibility and Explanation.Sören Häggqvist - 2005 - Croatian Journal of Philosophy 5 (1):71-87.


Added to PP index

Total views
319 ( #32,835 of 2,507,661 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
67 ( #12,030 of 2,507,661 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes