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Carving Nature at Its JointsNatural Kinds in Metaphysics and Science$
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Joseph Keim Campbell, Michael O'Rourke, and Matthew H. Slater

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780262015936

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: August 2013

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262015936.001.0001

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Introduction: Lessons from the Scientific Butchery

Introduction: Lessons from the Scientific Butchery

Chapter:
(p.1) 1 Introduction: Lessons from the Scientific Butchery
Source:
Carving Nature at Its Joints
Author(s):

Matthew H. Slater

Andrea Borghini

Publisher:
The MIT Press
DOI:10.7551/mitpress/9780262015936.003.0001

This introduction aims to survey and present important contemporary trends and issues regarding natural kinds and takes a look at history so that it may fill in the gaps. It begins by illustrating Plato’s metaphor that compares man to animal, stating that, similar to animals, the world comes to us predivided and that our best theories will be those that “carve nature at its joints.” Although Plato primarily utilized the metaphor as a tool in expressing his view regarding the reality of Forms, its most common contemporary use involves the success of science in identifying distinct kinds of things. Scientists often report the discovery of new kinds of things or uncovering more information about already familiar kinds.

Keywords:   natural kinds, Plato’s metaphor, nature, reality of Forms, distinct kinds of things

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