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My latest paper – Carving Nature at its Joints, a review

You can find it online here. A very interesting but ultimately, to me, largely frustrating book (because it didn’t answer my questions, goddammit!).


Review – Carving Nature at Its Joints
Natural Kinds in Metaphysics and Science
by Joseph Keim Campbell, Michael O’Rourke and Matthew H. Slater (Editors)
MIT Press, 2012
Review by John S. Wilkins
Nov 20th 2012 (Volume 16, Issue 47)


  1. he also addresses the grue paradox and law-derived etiologies, holding that natural law requires natural necessity and natural kinds require natural law.

    Hmm. I guess I’m going to have to read those. Dangit.

    acceptability of Humean supervenience of laws

    Humeanism is a bad (and somewhat confused) position.

    he does not seem to address the existence of centers; a mountain may have a peak even if one cannot easily distinguish where it and an adjacent mountain meet.

    A good point. Is it typically discussed in the literature (on kinds or on vagueness)?

    One sentence is enough to sum the claim up for me: “If there is no teleology in nature, then the Axiological Species Concept fails”


    the author argues that determinism is neither entailed by nor entails physicalism.


    = The connection with natural kinds lies in the issue of exceptionless or exception-laden kinds in physics.

    ?? I guess I’m going to have to read that one too . . .

  2. “scientific butchers”

    I’m not quite sure why that tickles me so much.

  3. John The Plumber John The Plumber

    I’m disillusioned – I thought you knew everything. – So what are your questions?

    • He does know everything – he just has this strange Socratic idea that by asking these questions we can find enlightenment. Sometimes it even works.

      • And any errors or mistakes are tests … of my readers.

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