Synthese https://doi.org/10.1007/s11229-018-1806-8 S.I.: NATURAL KINDS: LANGUAGE, SCIENCE, AND METAPHYSICS No purely epistemic theory can account for the naturalness of kinds Olivier Lemeire Received: 15 December 2017 / Accepted: 6 May 2018 © Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018 Abstract Several philosophers have recently tried to deﬁne natural kinds in epistemic terms only. Given the persistent problems with ﬁnding a successful metaphysical theory, these philosophers argue that we would do better to describe natural kinds solely in terms of their epistemic usefulness, such as their role in supporting inductive inferences. In this paper, I argue against these epistemology-only theories of natural kinds and in favor of, at least partly, metaphysical theories. I do so in three steps. In the ﬁrst section of the paper, I propose two desiderata for a theory of natural kinds. In the second section, I discuss one example of a ‘general’ epistemology-only theory, proposed by Marc Ereshefsky and Thomas Reydon, and argue that theories like theirs fail to provide adequate criteria of natural kinds. In the third section, I focus on one example of a ‘speciﬁc’ epistemology-only theory, proposed by P. D. Magnus, and use it to show why such theories cannot justify
Synthese – Springer Journals
Published: May 22, 2018
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