Natural kinds in philosophy and in the life sciences: scholastic twilight or new dawn?

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    Abstract

    This article, which is intended both as a position paper in the philosophical debate on natural kinds and as the guest editorial to this thematic issue, takes up the challenge posed by Ian Hacking in his paper, “Natural Kinds: Rosy Dawn, Scholastic Twilight.” Whereas a straightforward interpretation of that paper suggests that according to Hacking the concept of natural kinds should be abandoned, both in the philosophy of science and in philosophy more generally, we suggest that an alternative and less fatalistic reading is also possible. We argue that abandoning the concept of natural kinds would be premature, as it still can do important work. Our concern is with the situation in the (philosophy of the) life sciences. Against the background of this concern we attempt to set something of an agenda for future research on the topic of natural kinds in the (philosophy of the) life sciences.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)89-99
    JournalBiological Theory
    Volume7
    Issue number2
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2013

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