Seminar Series in Analytic Philosophy 2020-21, Session 8

Natural Kinds, Mind-Independence, and Unification Principles
Tuomas Tahko (University of Bristol)

20 November 2020, 16:00

Faculdade de Letras de Lisboa
Sala Mattos Romão (Departamento de Filosofia) & live-streamed

Abstract: A group of entities may share a number of properties without being a natural kind (say, all green and round things). It’s often enough for our scientific goals of explanation and prediction that there are one or more shared properties among a given sample set. Yet, there is more to being a member of a natural kind than sharing properties with other members of the kind. There have been many attempts to determine what makes a natural kind real, chief among them is the criterion according to which natural kinds must be mind-independent. But it is difficult to specify this criterion: many seemingly natural kinds have an element of mind-dependence. I will argue that the mind-independence criterion is nevertheless a good one, if correctly understood: the mind-independence criterion concerns the unification principles for natural kinds. Unification principles explain how natural kinds unify their properties.

Free Attendance, but preregistration required: