Carving Nature at Its Joints (Hardcover)

Natural Kinds in Metaphysics and Science

By Joseph Keim Campbell (Editor), Michael O'Rourke (Editor), Matthew H. Slater (Editor)

MIT Press (MA), 9780262015936, 355pp.

Publication Date: November 4, 2011

Other Editions of This Title:
Paperback (11/4/2011)

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Description

Reflections on the metaphysics and epistemology of classification from a distinguished group of philosophers.

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? The essays in this volume offer reflections by a distinguished group of philosophers on a series of intertwined issues in the metaphysics and epistemology of classification.

The contributors 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 boundaries; the metaphysics and epistemology of biological kinds; and the relevance of biological kinds to certain questions in ethics. Carving Nature at Its Joints offers both breadth and thematic unity, providing a sampling of state-of-the-art work in contemporary analytic philosophy that will be of interest to a wide audience of scholars and students concerned with classification.



About the Author

Joseph Keim Campbell is Associate Professor in the Department of Philosophy at Washington State University. Michael O'Rourke is Professor in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Idaho. Matthew H. Slater is Assistant Professor in the Department of Philosophy at Bucknell University. Campbell and O'Rourke are coeditors of the six previous volumes in the Topics in Contemporary Philosophy series published by the MIT Press, the most recent of which is Actions, Ethics, and Responsibility (2010).