The causal structure of natural kinds

Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 85:200-207 (2021)
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One primary goal for metaphysical theories of natural kinds is to account for their epistemic fruitfulness. According to cluster theories of natural kinds, this epistemic fruitfulness is grounded in the regular and stable co- occurrence of a broad set of properties. In this paper, I defend the view that such a cluster theory is insufficient to adequately account for the epistemic fruitfulness of kinds. I argue that cluster theories can indeed account for the projectibility of natural kinds, but not for several other epistemic operations that natural kinds support. Natural kinds also play a role in scientific explanations and categorizations. A theory of natural kinds can only account for these additional kind-based epistemic practices if it also analyzes their causal structure.

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From naturalness to materiality: reimagining philosophy of scientific classification.David Ludwig - 2023 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 13 (1):1-23.

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References found in this work

The meaning of 'meaning'.Hilary Putnam - 1975 - Minnesota Studies in the Philosophy of Science 7:131-193.
Depth: An Account of Scientific Explanation.Michael Strevens - 2008 - Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.
Scientific Essentialism.Brian Ellis - 2001 - New York: Cambridge University Press.

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