"Letting go of 'Natural Kind'. Towards a Multidimensional Framework of Non-Arbitrary Classification" Philosophy of Science

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Ludwig, David
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This article uses the case study of ethnobiological classification to develop a positive and a negative thesis about the state of natural kind debates. On the one hand, I argue that current accounts of natural kinds can be integrated in a multidimensional framework that advances understanding of classificatory practices in ethnobiology. On the other hand, I argue that such a multidimensional framework does not leave any substantial work for the notion ”natural kind” and that attempts to formulate a general account of naturalness have become an obstacle to understanding classificatory practices. In the case of ethnobiology, different accounts of natural kinds pick out different relevant subsets of ethnotaxa but there is nothing to be learnt from the question which subset should qualify as the set of natural kinds.