Natural classification: John S. Wilkins and Malte C. Ebach: The nature of classification: relationships and kinds in the natural sciences. London and New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2014, x+197pp, $60.00 HB [Book Review]

Metascience 24 (2):275-278 (2014)
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Writing a book about ‘natural classification’ is not a natural thing to do these days. As the authors of The Nature of Classification point out, classification as a stand-alone topic—separated from discussions of hypothesis testing, experimentation and concept formation—was all the rage in mid-nineteenth century philosophy of science, but interest has steadily dwindled ever since. In most twentieth century philosophy of science, classification was treated either as a pre-scientific endeavor, or as a product of theory-driven science. The general attitude is nicely captured in Carl Hempel’s remarks from his 1966 textbook Philosophy of Natural Science:[I]f a particular way of analyzing and classifying empirical findings is to lead to an explanation of the phenomena concerned, then it must be based on hypotheses about how those phenomena are connected; without such hypotheses, analysis and classification are blind .This was about all Hempel had to say about classifica ..



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Joeri Witteveen
University of Copenhagen

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Philosophy of natural science.Carl Gustav Hempel - 1966 - Englewood Cliffs, N.J.,: Prentice-Hall.
Philosophy of Natural Science.Carl G. Hempel - 1967 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 18 (1):70-72.
The Philosophy of the Inductive Sciences, Founded upon their History.William Whewell - 2016 - Epistemology and Philosophy of Science 47 (1):205-225.

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