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Carving Nature at Its Joints – Natural Kinds in Metaphysics and Science - MIT Press Scholarship Online
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Carving Nature at Its Joints: Natural Kinds in Metaphysics and Science

Joseph Keim Campbell, Michael O'Rourke, and Matthew H. Slater


Contemporary discussions of the success of science often invoke an ancient metaphor from Plato’s Phaedrus: successful theories should “carve nature at its joints,” but is nature really “jointed?” Are there natural kinds of things around which our theories cut? This book offers reflections by a group of philosophers on a series of intertwined issues in the metaphysics and epistemology of classification. The chapters consider such topics as the relevance of natural kinds in inductive inference; the role of natural kinds in natural laws; the nature of fundamental properties; the naturalness of bo ... More

Keywords: success of science, successful theories, metaphysics, epistemology of classification, natural kinds, inductive inference, natural laws, fundamental properties, naturalness of boundaries, biological kinds

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2011 Print ISBN-13: 9780262015936
Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: August 2013 DOI:10.7551/mitpress/9780262015936.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Joseph Keim Campbell, editor

Michael O'Rourke, editor

Matthew H. Slater, editor