Philosophy of the Social Sciences 50 (2):115-137 (2020)

Jonathan Y. Tsou
University of Texas at Dallas
This paper addresses the question of how human science categories yield projectable inferences by critically examining Ron Mallon’s ‘social role’ account of human kinds. Mallon contends that human categories are projectable when a social role produces a homeostatic property cluster (HPC) kind. On this account, human categories are projectable when various social mechanisms stabilize and entrench those categories. Mallon’s analysis obscures a distinction between transitory and robust projectable inferences. I argue that the social kinds discussed by Mallon yield the former, while classifications of biological kinds yield the latter. Classifications from psychiatry (‘schizophrenia,’ ‘hysteria’) are discussed as examples.
Keywords Ron Mallon  projectability of human categories  natural kinds  social constructionism  realism
Categories (categorize this paper)
Reprint years 2019, 2020
DOI 10.1177/0048393119894899
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

The Social Construction of What?Ian Hacking - 1999 - Harvard University Press.

View all 57 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Philosophy of Psychiatry.Jonathan Y. Tsou - 2021 - Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

The Construction of Human Kinds.Ron Mallon - 2016 - Oxford University Press UK.
Making Up Your Mind: The Social Construction of Human Kinds and its Implications.Ronald Jerry Mallon - 2000 - Dissertation, Rutgers the State University of New Jersey - New Brunswick
Three Kinds of Social Kinds.Muhammad Ali Khalidi - 2015 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 90 (1):96-112.
What Good Are Our Intuitions: Philosophical Analysis and Social Kinds.Sally Haslanger - 2006 - Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 80 (1):89-118.
Muhammad Ali Khalidi: Natural Categories and Human Kinds. Classification in the Natural and Social Sciences.Georg Theiner - 2016 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 47 (1):247-255.
Kinds of Kinds: A Conceptual Taxonomy of Psychiatric Categories.Nick Haslam - 2002 - Philosophy, Psychiatry, and Psychology 9 (3):203-217.
Natural Kinds and Crosscutting Categories.Muhammad Ali Khalidi - 1998 - Journal of Philosophy 95 (1):33.
The Metaphysics of Social Kinds.Rebecca Mason - 2016 - Philosophy Compass 11 (12):841-850.
The Nature of Natural Kinds: Natural Kinds in Biology and Medicine.Ina Carol Roy - 1998 - Dissertation, University of California, Berkeley


Added to PP index

Total views
161 ( #73,837 of 2,519,679 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
43 ( #19,844 of 2,519,679 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes